A HUSBAND has told a jury he didn’t initially seek medical help for his wife because she had “intended to end her life” and he didn’t want to go against her wishes.

Dorothy Morgan, who was 71, died in hospital on February 4, 2021. When admitted several days earlier, on January 25, 5ft 1in Mrs Morgan was found to be clinically dehydrated and severely malnourished. She weighed only four and a half stone.

A pathologist concluded that the cause of her death was severe emaciation and — as a result of being immobile for a significant period of time — neglected infected pressure ulcers.

Mrs Morgan’s husband, Robert Morgan, 61, and her son by another man, 53-year-old David Holyoak, are both on trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

They deny a charge of manslaughter which alleges that they unlawfully killed their respective wife and mother by gross negligence.

Today, Morgan — who met his wife in 1997 — gave evidence. He told jurors Mrs Morgan retired at the age of 65 but then, around two years later, began to lose interest in gardening, charity work and cleaning the Calder Avenue home at Whitehaven in which all three family members lived.

Mrs Morgan, said her husband, “refused” to get out of bed during a period of around eight months before her death.

“She said she had had enough,” said Morgan of that period. “She always made it clear that if things got too much for her, she would end things in her own way. And I got the impression that it had got to that point. That that was exactly what she wanted to do.”

“What had got too much?” asked his barrister, Richard English.

“I don’t know, she never said. She wouldn’t explain it.”

“Were you able to find out what she intended?” Mr English asked.

“Yes,” Morgan replied. “She intended to end her life.”

Two or three times a week, said Morgan, he would suggest or tell her to see a doctor.

“She said she was fine. That there was nothing wrong. She wasn’t going to change,” he told jurors.

She cut down on food and drink, but continued to smoke heavily.

“What would have happened if you had got some help for her?” asked Mr English.

“I don’t think she would have accepted it,” said Morgan.

“Did you think it was something you should do, or try to do?” asked the barrister.

“I tried. We (Holyoak also) tried to persuade her,” replied Morgan. “She had just set herself down that road and she was going to get to the end of it.”

Security manager Morgan spoke of working long hours in south Cumbria but that he would ask her daily if there was anything she wanted. He noted his wife was latterly “frail, underweight, lethargic” and recalled her saying she “couldn’t be bothered” washing herself.

In mid-January, 2021, Morgan said she moved from their first floor bedroom to a downstairs living room, where she lay on a sofa bundled up in blankets. Morgan said he hadn’t noticed that the sofa “stank of urine”, as a police officer would later observe.

Nor did he detect what a geriatrician would later describe as a “very strong smell” from the pressure sores she had. “At no time was there a strong smell. The only smell off her was the stench of cigarettes,” said Morgan.

“Did you know that she had sores or injuries like that?” Mr English asked him.

“Not at any time,” said Morgan. “I never knew she had any sores. If I had seen any sores or she had mentioned any sores or even said she was in pain, I would have sent her to the hospital. I wouldn’t have waited.”

He said Mrs Morgan only ever mentioned pain in her knees.

But the “game changed”, he said, on January 25 — his birthday — after her conditional had significantly worsened. He sought a on-call doctor’s help at first but then recalled dialling 999 after Holyoak told Mrs Morgan was unresponsive.

In the first call, Morgan told an operator his mother “looked like something from a death camp”.

“How long,” asked Mr English, “had she ‘looked like something from a death camp’?”

“To me, a couple of days,” replied Morgan. “That would be 24th and 25th (January). I knew something was going to have to change.”

Mr English asked: “Before that, did you think she needed any medical help?”

Morgan responded: “If I could persuade her, then yes, I would have got her medical help. But if she was not willing to accept, no, I’m wouldn’t have done.

“I wouldn’t have gone against her wishes regardless of what I might want. It’s what she wanted.”

Mr English asked: “Why not go against her wishes?”

Morgan said: “Because it’s her wishes. That’s what she wanted.”

Asked how he felt when Mrs Morgan died, he replied: “Terrible. I had just lost the best part of 30 years of my life.”

The trial continues.