AN ELDERLY man has gone on trial accused of murdering his wife of 50 years in a “sustained attack” around their house.

Edward Small, 76, of Raymond Drive, West Bowling, denies murdering his wife Sheila Small, 73, who had dementia, in the early hours of December 18.

The diminutive, bespectacled Small, sat in the dock dressed in a smart grey suit as David Brooke QC outlined the prosecution case to the jury.

Mr Brooke said a 999 call was made by Small shortly before 5am, saying his wife had died after returning from the bathroom and laying on the floor.

Another call from their next-door neighbour a short time later said she had heard banging and shouting coming from next door.

She said she was concerned about Mrs Small, and had heard her saying, “leave me alone”, while Edward Small said, “get up”, but his voice had then changed, saying her name while she was not answering.


Police and paramedics arrived soon after, and found Mrs Small laying on the bedroom floor in a nightdress, with blood on her front, the wall, the bed headboard, a pillow and on the floor under her head.

A blood-stained walking stick was also found in the bedroom, along with a blood stained rolling pin and broken bottle in the kitchen, and there was blood spattered throughout the house.

Paramedics confirmed Mrs Small was dead at the scene, and Edward Small was arrested on suspicion of murder a short time later.

A post-mortem of Mrs Small showed multiple bone fractures and bruising to the majority of her body, Mr Brooke said.

She had a shattered shoulder blade, broken collarbone, eight rib fractures, a broken finger, and a pathologist found other healing fractures in her ribs which had been broken several weeks earlier.

On top of this, she had bruising and swelling all over her face, torso, arms and legs, along with lacerations to her head and numerous cuts.

“There was an abrasion on her neck which could indicate it had been forcefully gripped,” Mr Brooke said.

“She also had bleeding on her brain, and was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s.

“The pathologist said she died from multiple blunt force injuries from a sustain assault with at least one weapon used to inflict the injuries.

“The weapons could have been the rolling pin, walking stick and a broken bottle and forensic evidence is consistent with them being used in the assault.

“Other injuries could have also been from punches and kicks.

“Forensic examination found it was clear there was an attack in different parts of the house.

“Blood was found on three lots of Sheila’s clothing and there was an attempt to clean up blood at the scene.”

Mr Brooke said there were blood spatters and stains in the kitchen consistent with Mrs Small being hit and having food thrown at her before she fell onto the kitchen floor.

The rolling pin had a large area of blood staining on it, “indicative of it being used to strike”, and blood on the implement matched Mrs Small.

There were stains in the living room on a sofa, armchair and on the stairs.

Police also found clothes soaked in blood, and another nightdress was found along with a blood stained shower cap in the bedroom.

The straps on the nightdress were broken, suggesting it was ripped off, said Mr Brooke.

He also said the nightdress Mrs Small was wearing when she was found was “not worn in the normal manner”, with her head through an arm hole, and it and her body had very little blood on them.

Mr Brooke added: “A chemical test showed there was still blood on most areas of her body which had been cleaned away.

“In the bedroom there was also a blood stained bucket and sponge. In the bedroom there was a determined attempt to clean up.”