A GREAT-GRANDAD aged 76 must spend at least 14 years behind bars 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, will be almost 90 when he is released from prison after killing his wife, Sheila, at their home in Raymond Drive, West Bowling, Bradford, on December 17.

Small, a retired engineer, was jailed for life at Bradford Crown Court today. He will spend a minimum of 13 years and 125 days in prison, taking into account the time he was locked up on remand.

He was convicted by a jury in May of murdering Mrs Small, 73, his wife of more than 50 years.

Judge Neil Davey QC said that Small’s pride and sense of duty prevented him seeking help with his wife, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2015.

Small found his role as her full-time carer increasingly burdensome and frustrating but he declined help from Social Services, asking only for assistance with the ironing.

Judge Davey said that Small felt resentment about his situation, but he would not have killed Sheila that night if he had not been drinking.

“That was the catalyst for the attack. It wasn’t a sudden flare of temper. Your frustration boiled over into physical violence and you beat her to death,” he said.

Mrs Small, a former nurse, sustained numerous fractures and 20 injuries to her head.

She was very vulnerable, just 4ft 11ins tall and weighing under nine stone, Judge Davey said.

“She endured a significant amount of physical suffering before her death,” he told Small.

Judge Davey concurred with the prosecution and defence barristers, and members of the defendant’s family, that Small did not intend to kill his wife.

“You could no longer cope. You were at the end of your tether,” the judge said.

Tahir Khan QC, Small’s barrister, said of the couple’s marriage: “This was by and large a strong and loving relationship.”

By the time of the murder, Mrs Small was “a shell of the woman she had been.”

Testimonials from Small’s two sons, niece and grandsons, spoke of a proud man who instilled in his family positive qualities.

“Instead of seeking help, he took on himself the burden of caring for his wife. That may be the generation that he came from – the Windrush generation,” Mr Khan said.

He said Mrs Small was “a wonderful human being missed by all the family”.

Some family members spoke of their guilt in not doing more to help the couple.

“We listened to the procrastinations of a sick lady and a proud man,” one said.

Small was said to have “a heart of gold,” integrity and standards.

“He will remain forever in prison in his mind over these tragic circumstances,” another wrote.

After the case, Detective Superintendent Mark Swift, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Small said the attack on his wife was as a result of him briefly losing control as he struggled to cope with her condition.

“However, the jury agreed with the prosecution’s case that it was sustained violence over a period of time which resulted in her death.

“He now has some considerable time to reflect on his actions and our sympathies remain with Mrs Small’s family at this time.

“We acknowledge that progressive conditions such as Alzheimer’s can cause distress for those affected and anyone struggling to cope should make contact with support services to seek help and advice.”