A GREAT-GRANDAD is behind bars awaiting a life sentence for murdering his dementia-suffering wife by beating her to death with a rolling pin and a walking stick.

Edward Henderson Small, known as Hendy, remained impassive in the dock at Bradford Crown Court this afternoon as the jury delivered its verdict after deliberating for less than two and a half hours.

Small, 76, had admitted the manslaughter of his wife, Sheila, of more than 50 years at their home in Raymond Drive, West Bowling, Bradford, but denied murdering her.

Judge Neil Davey QC said he will sentence Small on Friday, June 21.

Small, a retired engineer, who was wearing a smart suit and tie, was remanded back into custody.


He told the jury he killed Mrs Small, 73, when he “got angry and lost it” during an argument on the evening of December 17. He accepted that his unlawful violence caused her death but said he did not intend to cause her really serious harm.

Small called it a “split second of madness” but forensic evidence pointed to a “prolonged attack” the court heard.

Mrs Small’s body was found by emergency workers in the couple’s blood-spattered bedroom after Small dialled 999 in the early hours.

He said he lashed out and struck his wife twice with a rolling pin in the kitchen and attacked her again in the bedroom, hitting her with his walking stick.

Small said he held her head in his lap when she was lying on the floor and then performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.

The jury heard that Small had drunk beer and whisky the night before. A back calculation until 5am on the morning of her death put him at more than three times the drink-drive limit.

Prosecutor David Brooke QC said Mrs Small had wounds to the top of her head that had split the skin to the skull. She had up to 26 separate injuries to her face, extensive bruising to her body and all four limbs, a shattered shoulder blade, a broken collar bone and fractured ribs.

Her right arm was “absolutely covered in bruises” and the index finger was broken.

“Was she holding her hand up to protect herself as you smashed that stick down on her?” Mr Brooke asked.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Police at the house of Edward and Sheila Small, where he murdered her last yearPolice at the house of Edward and Sheila Small, where he murdered her last year

The court heard that “tramline” injuries on Mrs Small’s legs were consistent with her being struck by the rolling pin or the walking stick.

The court heard that Mrs Small, a former nurse, was just 4ft 9ins tall.

Mr Brooke suggested that Small was unable to face up to what he had done.

“You lashed out with weapons on your vulnerable and defenceless wife for period of what must have been hours,” he said.

Mr Brooke told Small: “It wasn’t a split second of madness was it?”

Mrs Small had 65 external injuries, bruising all over her body and numerous fractures.

“The truth is that you can’t face up to what you have done,” Mr Brooke said.

Small said he was caring for his wife “24/7.” He was diabetic and arthritic but he did not tell adult social care how much he was struggling because he feared she would be put in a home.

Mrs Small was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2015 but Small said he knew something was wrong before then. She had stopped doing the crossword and reading the papers and she was “drifting.” She became forgetful and would leave the gas turned on if she was cooking.

“The dementia took over. I had to have her with me, like my shadow. It put pressure on me, but it was something I had to live with,” Small told the jury.

Asked by his barrister, Tahir Khan QC, if he had considered suggesting to his wife that she went into a home, Small replied: “She said she was becoming a burden…put her in a home. I said ‘you are in a home, our home’.”

Small read a letter out in court that was directed at members of he and his wife’s family sitting in the public gallery.

“I Edward H Small with much regrets and remorse do apologise for causing the death of Sheila Small after 55 years of love and devotion, with happiness.

“I must have had a split focus while at the end of my tether and lost control,” he said.

He asked his relatives to forgive him for the pain he had caused.

After the guilty verdict, Mr Brooke said he would find out if there were any victim impact statements to read out when Small was sentenced.

He said Small’s relatives were “in their father’s camp, generally.”

“It’s one of those cases where there is obviously a lot of feeling in the background,” Mr Brooke stated.

Small’s barrister, Tahir Khan QC, said he would take instructions on whether the defence was seeking a medical report.

He said the judge would be given letters from Small’s two sons, two of his grandsons and a niece.
Other testimonials and letters of support would also be prepared.

Judge Davey told Small: “Edward Small, you have been convicted of murder. The sentence is fixed by law as imprisonment for life.”

Judge Davey said he must fix a minimum time Small must spend in jail before he can apply for parole.