Former Winchester mayor ‘smothered mother with pillow’

“He said his intention was to end her suffering, she was in pain, screams of anguish from her and: ‘I just could not cope with that.’”

Opening the three-week trial, Ms Mittell told jurors: “On any view, this is a sad case; the defendant is an upstanding member of the community, someone of impeccably good character.

“He was formerly the mayor of Winchester. On the evening of Oct 6 2022, for reasons you may have some sympathy with, he tried to end his elderly mother’s life. Margaret was 92 and she was dying.

“She had been attended by carers and medical professionals. David McLean was alone with her by her bedside because these professionals thought she was about to die.

“She was on end-of-life care. Sadly, he tried to speed up his mother’s demise with a pillow. He attempted to smother her.”


Ms Mittell said “guilt-ridden” Mr McLean called 111 and confessed what he had done then subsequently repeatedly told police officers he had killed his mother – even calling himself a “murderer”.

But Ms Mittell explained to the jury why the Crown was only bringing a charge of attempted murder.

She said: “In these circumstances, the Crown don’t suggest that he actually caused his mother’s death. Plainly, she could have died at any time.

“Even though she did pass away at or around the time of his actions, the allegation is that of attempted murder.”

When police arrived at Mrs McLean’s home, Mr McLean is said to have told officers ‘I passed my mother into the next world’.

At a police station in Portsmouth, Hants, Mr McLean told officers he “used the black cushion” to smother his mother after she had been “gurgling in her chest and screaming”.

The court heard in his interview Mr McLean said: “I just decided I would send her off because I could not live with myself watching her drown.”

Ms Mittell added that he kept the pillow over his mother’s face for 15 seconds.

Mr McLean, from Bishop’s Waltham, denies attempted murder. The trial continues.

MPs are due to discuss a change in the law after a petition, backed by Dame Esther Rantzen, gained more than 200,000 signatures. Mrs Justice McGowan told jurors to disregard the debate, saying it has nothing to do with the trial and is just a “coincidence”.

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