Great-grandfather, 76, jailed for life for beating wife of 50 years to death with rolling pin

Edward Small has been jailed for life for murdering his dementia-suffering wife of 50 years with a rolling pin and a walking stick (Picture: SWNS)

A great-grandfather has been jailed for life for murdering his dementia-suffering wife with a rolling pin and walking stick.

Sheila Small, 73, was left with 20 injuries to her head and numerous fractures after her husband of 50 years, Edward Small, attacked her after he had been drinking.

Small, 76, was jailed for life at Bradford Crown Court on Friday after being previously convicted of one count of murder.

The retired engineer was told he must serve a minimum of 14 years, meaning he will be almost 90 before is released from jail.

The court heard that Sheila Small was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2015 but despite finding his role as her full-time carer “increasingly burdensome”, her husband’s “pride and sense of duty” prevented him from accepting help from Social Services, asking only for help with the ironing.

Small was jailed for life at Bradford Crown Court (Picture: PA)

Judge Neil Davey QC agreed with the prosecution and defence barristers that while small resented his situation, he would not have killed his wife had he not been drinking on the night of the attack.

The judge said: "That was the catalyst for the attack. It wasn’t a sudden flare of temper. Your frustration boiled over into physical violence and you beat her to death.


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"She endured a significant amount of physical suffering before her death."

He added: "You could no longer cope. You were at the end of your tether."

Sheila Small was murdered by her husband at their home on Raymond Drive, Bradford (Picture: Google Maps)

Tahir Khan QC, defending Small said the couple, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, had “by and large a strong and loving relationship” but Mrs Small had been left “a shell of the woman she had been.”

“Instead of seeking help, he took on himself the burden of caring for his wife. That may be the generation that he came from – the Windrush generation,” he said.

Small was said to have “a heart of gold,” integrity and standards and that he will "remain forever in prison in his mind over these tragic circumstances".

After the case, Detective Superintendent Mark Swift, of West Yorkshire Police's Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Small said the attack on his wife was as a result of him briefly losing control as he struggled to cope with her condition.

“However, the jury agreed with the prosecution’s case that it was sustained violence over a period of time which resulted in her death.

“He now has some considerable time to reflect on his actions and our sympathies remain with Mrs Small’s family at this time.

“We acknowledge that progressive conditions such as Alzheimer’s can cause distress for those affected and anyone struggling to cope should make contact with support services to seek help and advice.”