A woman has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering her severely ill father.

CREDIT: Met Police
CREDIT: Met Police

Claire Darbyshire was found guilty of murdering her 67-year-old, severely ill father and sentence to life in prison.

She was acting as Brian Darbyshire’s career when she killed him.

Brian Darbyshire was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and was bed-bound as a result of his illness. The two had lived a near reclusive life together at their home.

When detectives found the body of Mr. Darbyshire with a number of items, including notes from Claire Darbyshire claiming that she and her father had made a suicide pact. She wrote that her father no longer wanted to live with MS and Darbyshire claimed she could not go on without her father.

The notes stated that an attempted overdose of paracetamol had failed, and so they had found another way.

A post-mortem examination later gave Mr Darbyshire’s cause of death as being consistent with plastic bag asphyxia.

During the course of the investigation detectives found no evidence – from Brian himself or from health care professionals that he had contact with – that he had suicidal thoughts. Nor was there any evidence found to corroborate the claim of an initial suicide attempt with paracetamol.

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Darbyshire’s contact with police in Dover arose after she had approached members of the public on the cliffs on 3 September 2015, stating she had planned to commit suicide but was unable to do so. No mention was made at this time of her father’s death or a suicide pact, and it was only on the 8 September that Claire mentioned her father’s death to support workers.

She was convicted on Friday, 26 February, following an investigation by detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command.

Ms. Darbyshire, who started her transition in 2008, was told at the Old Bailey today that she must serve a minimum of four years’ imprisonment.

Detective Inspector Sarah McConnell, the investigating officer for the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said:

“It is always difficult for those involved when a person loses their life, whatever the circumstances, and this case raises a number of sensitive issues. The reclusive lifestyle that Brian and Claire Darbyshire had lived for a number of years, means it is difficult to fully understand their precise situation. However, after considering all of the evidence in this case the jury returned a unanimous verdict of murder which has been welcomed by the remaining family of Brian Darbyshire.”

During her trial Ms. Darbyshire spent five months on remand in a men’s prison awaiting trial.

Paul Keleher QC told the court

“The prison will continue to support in terms of her ongoing transformation.”