Man accused of murdering wife in Eynesbury care home ‘dies days before court hearing’

Poppyfields, Eynesbury,

Poppyfields, Eynesbury, - Credit: Archant

An 87-year-old man charged with the murder of his wife at a care home in Eynesbury died just days before he was due to appear before a court.

Brendon Constant died following a “collapse and fall” at his son’s home following the celebration of his grandson’s birthday.

Constant, of Richmond Road, Wisbech, was arrested on August 22, last year, at Poppyfields Care Home, in Chapman Way, after the death of his wife Jean, 86.

A post mortem, carried out by Dr Nat Cary at Peterborough City Hospital, concluded Mrs Constant died from plastic bag asphyxia in association with heart disease.

Constant was bailed on April 5, and was due to appear at Cambridge Crown Court today (Wednesday) to enter a plea.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, however, told Judge David Farrell QC that Constant had died on April 28 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.

Concerns were raised by Judge Farrell that the circumstances around Constant’s death could have been suspicious.

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But Sally Hobson, defending, reassured Judge Farrell that Constant did not take his own life.

“Mr Constant’s sons are in court and I know that they will want to reassure your honour that care was taken for their father,” Mrs Hobson said.

“I am told by his children that they are comforted that their father didn’t suffer at the end and he is now in a place where he had chosen to be August last year.”

On the day of his death, Constant celebrated his grandson’s birthday before speaking to his great granddaughter.

“I am told that, by his son, he retired to bed, spoke to his granddaughter and said good night before he went up the stairs and fell,” Mrs Hobson said.

Following the fall, Constant suffered considerable injuries and was taken to hospital.

“He was assessed and it was determined that his head injuries were so bad very little could be done for him,” Mrs Hobson added.

Constant was given further care at the hospital and was surrounded by his family when he died.

The grandfather’s death has been reported to the coroner and it will be decided whether an inquest is required.

Judge Farrell adjourned the case for the presentation of a police report into Constant’s death.

Frank Ferguson, deputy chief crown prosecutor for CPS East of England, said: “We considered the public interest in this case very carefully given Mr Constant’s age and the alleged motive for his actions. This included contacting his family so that we were aware of their views.

“However, we were satisfied there was sufficient evidence to show that Mr Constant had killed his wife unlawfully, with the intention required for murder. In these circumstances it would be highly unusual not to pursue a criminal prosecution. We were not aware of any medical reasons that would have prevented Mr Constant from standing trial.

“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a jury to consider. However we fully appreciate the sensitivities of such cases and our thoughts are with Mr Constant’s family at this time.”