Life sentence for March man who stabbed mother to death

Main image: Police officers in forensics on the scene of a murder in March; Inset: Wendy Cole (deceased); Inset: John Cole

John Cole (inset), 46, of Oak Tree Close, March, murdered his 70-year-old mum Wendy in May 2021 - Credit: Terry Harris/Cambridgeshire Constabulary/Archant

A man who stabbed his own mother to death will serve life in prison.

John Cole, 36, stabbed his 70-year-old mum to death at their home in March on May 10, 2021.

At Peterborough Crown Court today, Judge Sean Enright ordered Cole to serve life in prison, with a minimum term of 11 years before he can be considered for release.

Cole, of Oak Tree Close, March, lived with his mother Wendy.

Wendy Cole, 70, from March

Wendy Cole, 70, from March - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

In the six years that they lived together, Wendy's health had deteriorated and Cole had become depressed.

On May 7, 2021 - three days before Cole stabbed Wendy - social services visited the pair and asked Cole whether he could manage one more week while they put a care package in place.

The following day, Cole became tearful when he was food shopping, telling a member of staff that his mum had become too frail to "do anything".

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

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Cole's sister visited him on the same day, and he broke down, telling her that he couldn't cope.

John Cole, 36, of Oak Tree Close, March

John Cole, 36, of Oak Tree Close, March, has been ordered to serve life in prison after stabbing his mother to death at their home - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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

He said: "I've killed my mum and the dog. I've stabbed her several times, had thoughts in my head, they tell me to do it."

He visited March police station and, 13 minutes after Cole phoned 999, police had arrived at his home on Oak Tree Close.

Police staff in forensic suits on the scene of Wendy Cole's murder on Oak Tree Close, March

Police arrived on the scene and found Wendy alive, but she was sadly pronounced dead soon after - Credit: Terry Harris

Officers found Wendy alive, but she was later pronounced dead at the scene.

They also found a laptop in another bedroom showing a Google search.

"If slit someone's throat how long in prison," it read.

A post-mortem examination concluded that Wendy had suffered wounds and cuts to her neck, along with three stab wounds to the chest which killed her.

There were minor cuts to her hands, which led police to believe that Wendy had struggled with Cole to defend herself.

A later investigation found that Cole had searched for alternative care providers for his mother and that, in April 2021, he had made several searches for counselling, mental health and the Samaritans.

The police investigation at Oak Tree Close, March, following the death of 70-year-old Wendy Cole

The police investigation at Oak Tree Close, March - Credit: Terry Harris

Cole was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at Peterborough City Hospital after the murder, but was found to be medically fit.

He was found guilty of murder at Peterborough Crown Court on March 1.

Sentencing took place today (Wednesday, March 16), when Cole was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 11 years.

Detective Inspector Rich Stott, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, was part of the team investigating Cole.

He 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."

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.