Barking carer claims she suffocated MS father after botched paracetamol attempt

A police officer outside the Darbyshire property in Wykeham Green, Dagenham last year

A police officer outside the Darbyshire property in Wykeham Green, Dagenham last year - Credit: Archant

A transgender carer who suffocated her disabled dad with a plastic bag in an alleged suicide pact had tried to take the pair’s lives two days earlier through an overdose of paracetamol, a court heard this morning.

Claire Darbyshire, 36, admits killing Brian, 67, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, at their home in Wykeham Green, Dagenham, on September 2 last year.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told jurors at the Old Bailey today that she had admitted to crushing up packets of tablets of paracetamol so that they could end their lives together.

Two of the packets had been bought in an online Asda shop, delivered on August 28, that also include eight bottles of two-litre cola, tins of corned beef and streaky bacon.

However when police reached the home days later, several more packets were found in a medicine cupboard next to Mr Darbyshire’s bed.

“If she wanted to make sure of death and not make a botched job surely the logical thing to do would be to crush up all of the tablets available,” said Mr Rees, who questioned the existence of the alleged suicide pact.

The court also heard how Ms Darbyshire had to hold the plastic bag at the back of her dad’s head, “because he would not have been able to do it himself”.

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Reminding the court of evidence already given by her, Mr Rees said: “The defendant already told the court: ‘He [Dad] could not be able to place the bag on his head himself and he required help.

“He must have know that from watching TV programmes.”

Mr Rees continued relaying the defendant’s evidence: “His breathing was getting quicker and quicker and then it slowed.”

After the killing, Ms Darbyshire caught a train to the Dover area and made her way to the White Cliffs having texted the district nurse to visit “asap”.

On the evening of September 3, a shivering Ms Darbyshire approached a National Trust worker, saying: “I want to break my body but I’m too scared to go through with it. I think I need some medical help.”

She was taken to police in Dover and found homeless accommodation before moving on to support services in Canterbury.

Days later, on September 8, she mentioned the suicide pact, saying they had both taken an overdose which failed to work on September 1, before she suffocated her father.

Ms Darbyshire denies murder.

The jury is expected to retire this afternoon. Visit to keep up to date with the trial.