A RETIRED policeman yesterday admitted killing his terminally ill wife in a suicide pact.
Brian Blackburn, 62, cut his wife Margaret's wrists before making a deep cut in one of his own wrists, the Old Bailey was told.
But he was saved after dialling 999 and confessing.
Mrs Blackburn, 62, a retired nurse, was suffering from stomach cancer but had refused to seek help.
Blackburn, of Ash, Surrey, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was remanded in custody for reports until January 14.
Blackburn, who had served with Hampshire Police before retiring, had originally been charged with murder.
Richard Whittam, prosecuting, told the court: "In this most tragic case, his plea of not guilty has been considered with great care by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service."
He said it had been accepted because the killing had been a suicide pact.
Mr Whittam added: "Margaret Blackburn suspected she was suffering from cancer but because of her previous work in a hospice, she refused to seek help and had an abhorrence of surgery." After her death, it was discovered that Mrs Blackburn had a tumour in her stomach and the prognosis for the rest of her life would have been "very short, very poor", said Mr Whittam.
"He rang police and immediately stated that he had killed his wife as part of a suicide pact because she was very ill.
"He had cut his wrist in a way which meant he was bleeding to death. It is quite clear that the injuries he had made on himself, confirm that they were as a result of a serious attempt to take his own life.
"It is quite clear there was a loving relationship between Brian and Margaret Blackburn."
Blackburn, wearing a black coat over a grey suit, took off his glasses and wiped his eyes.
Mr Whittam went on to describe how Mrs Blackburn's behaviour in the week before indicated that she had meant to die.
He said: "She had seen both her sons and they are clear she was saying goodbye."
Blackburn's guilty plea comes two weeks after a couple won a landmark case to go to a Swiss clinic so that the wife could have an assisted suicide. The 66-year-old woman, known only as Mrs Z, had an incurable brain condition.
She won a High Court action on November 30 allowing her husband to help her leave the country.