Barking carer ‘killed MS dad as part of suicide pact’

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 carer killed her dad then went to throw herself off the White Cliffs of Dover, claiming they made a suicide pact due to his “intolerable” multiple sclerosis, a court heard today.

Transgender Claire Darbyshire, 36, suffocated Brian, 67, with a plastic bag at their home in Wykeham Green, Dagenham, on September 2 last year.

The evening after she was found wandering around the cliff tops, shivering and wet and asking for help, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told jurors that she accepts killing the former Ford motor company stock controller but denies it was murder, claiming it was part of a suicide pact.

He told jurors: “In essence, she asserts that they had come to this agreement because his life had become intolerable due to multiple sclerosis and she would have nothing to live for once her father had gone.”

However, he told jurors that Mr Darbyshire had never expressed any suicidal thoughts before or complained about being in pain.

Mr Darbyshire, a dad-of-two, lost his wife Lynn in 2008 and developed MS in 1995.

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Over the years, his condition worsened to the point where he was confined to his bed and his daughter Claire took over as sole carer in 2014.

Medical records revealed he had episodes of “bad temper and aggression” but had never tried to kill himself, Mr Rees said.

The defendant was born Christopher but changed her name to Claire by deed poll in 2008 and has lived as a woman for many years, Mr Rees said.

She and her father led a reclusive life but she befriended the owner of a jewellery shop in Dagenham where she did volunteer work.

The court heard that her friend had noticed over time that Ms Darbyshire was getting “more and more stressed” and complained about having to look after her father.

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 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.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.