Son ‘tried to smother his dying father’

Joseph Peachey
Joseph Peachey

A MAN was caught red-handed trying to smother his terminally ill father as he lay in a hospital bed, a court has heard.

Armed police used a Taser to stun Joseph Peachey after a brawl broke out between him and nurses, security staff and police officers in the ward at the District General Hospital.

As patients watched in horror, Peachey chased a nurse from the six-bed ward and punched him in the head after he tried to intervene and twice hit a security guard who tried to drag him from his father Albert’s bedside.

The 48-year-old also bit through a policeman’s uniform and into his arm before being subdued when an officer stunned him twice with a Taser gun pressed against his leg.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court was told this week that Peachey’s father suffered a massive stroke while being treated for bowel cancer at the hospital in December last year.

Richard Barton, prosecuting, said the bid to end the pensioner’s life was not an attempted mercy killing.

He said, “This case concerns how he tried to kill his own father by suffocating him.

“He knew full well his actions were illegal and had raised the topic of ending his father’s life with staff at the hospital.

“He was told by them in the clearest terms that he should not interfere with his father’s medical treatment.

“When a nurse caught him in the act of smothering his father he lashed out in anger, assaulting him.”

Mr Peachey died five days later, the court heard.

Peachey, 48, of Badlesmere Road, Eastbourne, denies attempted murder, affray and two charges of assault.

Prosecutor Richard Barton told jurors that on December 20 Mr Peachey told hospital staff, “I’m going to remove my father’s oxygen mask as it’s only keeping him alive.”

He said a nurse heard him afterwards from behind a curtain telling his father “to just die” and that he would put a pillow over his face.

Mr Barton said senior staff nurse Robert Wilson subsequently discovered the defendant with one hand over his father’s mouth and the other pinching his nose.

Jurors heard that Mr Peachey then flew into a rage.

Police, including firearms officers, also attended but Mr Peachey punched one officer and bit another, the jury was told. Mr Barton said officers used Tasers to restrain him but he told them, “If I had a knife I would have sliced you all up.”

Mr Barton said the defendant also lied to police about the alleged smothering incident, claiming he had been checking his father’s false teeth.

The case continues.