Cambs man stabbed mum, 70, to death after struggling to care for her

Main image: Police cars on Oak Tree Close, March; Insets: Wendy, 70 and John Cole, 36

John Cole, 36, of Oak Tree Close in March, murdered his mum Wendy, 70, after struggling to care for her - Credit: Terry Harris/Cambridgeshire Constabulary

A Cambridgeshire man stabbed his frail mum to death when he struggled to cope with her illnesses.

John Cole, of Oak Tree Close, March, had lived with his mother Wendy in a bungalow for six years when he killed her.

Police launched a murder investigation in March on May 10, 2021

Police launched a murder investigation in March on May 10, 2021 - Credit: Terry Harris

He suffered a series of breakdowns when Wendy's health gradually deteriorated in 2021, and he stabbed her on May 10 last year.

A jury found Cole, aged 36, guilty of murder after a six-day trial at Peterborough Crown Court, which began on February 21.

Over the six years which Cole had lived with Wendy, aged 70, he became depressed.

Wendy Cole, aged 70, who died after being stabbed by her son

Wendy Cole, aged 70, who died after being stabbed by her son - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

He had told social services that he was concerned about the cost of caring for his mother.

On May 7, 2021, social services asked him whether he could manage one more week while they put a care package in place.

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The following day, Cole became tearful when he was food shopping, telling a member of staff that he knew his mum could no longer do anything.

He said that he had tried everything, but that "nothing was good enough".

His sister visited him on the same day, when he broke down and told her that he couldn't cope.

At 3am on May 10, Cole phoned 999 and told them that he had "done something stupid".

"I've killed my mum and the dog," he said.

John Cole, 36, who stabbed his mum after he struggled to cope caring for her

John Cole, 36, who stabbed his mum after he struggled to cope caring for her - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

"I’ve stabbed her several times, had thoughts in my head, they tell me to do it."

He said that he was outside March Police Station, and that his mum was still in the bedroom.

Thirteen minutes after Cole’s 999 call, police officers arrived at Oak Tree Close where they discovered a bloodstained knife in the hallway and Wendy in bed.

She was still alive when officers arrived, but was later pronounced dead at the scene.

In another bedroom, a laptop was displaying a Google search which said: "If slit someone’s throat how long in prison."

A post-mortem examination concluded she had suffered stab wounds and cuts to her neck, but had died from being stabbed three times in the chest.

There were also minor cuts to both her hands suggesting she had tried to defend herself.

An investigation revealed that during April 2021, Cole had made searches relating to counselling, help with mental health, and the Samaritans.

From early May, he had regularly searched for information about care providers.

After the murder, Cole was arrested and taken to Peterborough City Hospital, where he was found to be medically fit and was discharged with a diagnosis of anxiety disorder.

He was not interviewed by police because he was not thought to be fit to do so.

After Cole was found guilty, Detective Inspector Rich Stott, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said the Cole had committed a "brutal act of violence".

DI Stott said: "I am glad it has reached a conclusion today.

“What Cole did that day was a brutal and horrific act of violence, which saw a woman who was a mother, a friend and a neighbour tragically lose her life.

"My thoughts and sympathies are with her family."

Cole will be sentenced on Wednesday, March 16.

If you need help and support, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123, or reach out for help online: https://www.samaritans.org/

Alternatively, call the NHS on 111 and press option 2 for a dedicated, 24/7 First Response Service for mental health crises.