Feb 08, 2018

Elderly Man Accused of Mercy Killing Sick Wife, Out on Bail as “Exceptional Case”

Late January, tragedy stuck the Barclay family as 85 year old Harold Barclay was accused of murdering his 83 year old wife in their Perth home.

Yesterday, he was released on bail as he only has months to live and it was deemed “clearly an exceptional case”.

It was reportedly a mercy killing, as Nancy had advanced dementia and was still living at home with Harold as her carer.

After police were called to the scene, Harold arrested, questioned overnight by the homicide squad, and later charged with murder. Harold was then transferred to Casuarina Prison.

Details have since been revealed of what happened that night, Harold told the police he woke two weeks ago to find she hadn’t taken her sleeping tablets.

Nancy had been sitting at the dining table all night, where Harold had seen her last before he went to bed.

When Harold tried to help his wife up, she fell. It was then that he strangled her – explaining to police that “he wanted to put her out of her misery”.

Harold and Nancy had been married for 63 years, and were living in their Brompton Place home since 1989.

Harold himself is in the advanced stages of cancer and had recently started to refuse treatment.

He was so ill that was unable to appear at Magistrates Court when he was initially charged, and had to have bedside court hearing from hospital.


Yesterday he appeared at the Supreme Court by video link from Casuarina Prison.

It’s now come to light that Harold only has a few months to live, and that up until recently, he hadn’t told his family about the extent of his condition.

“They continue to remain supportive of their father,” said Harold’s lawyer, Mark Andrews. His family members are reportedly keen to have contact with him and want to help him get treatment.

Justice Lindy Jenkins agreed to grant bail, explaining that she took into account the fact that Harold had metastatic melanoma and a “very limited life expectancy”.

Bail was set at $50,000 and Harold will be due back in court next month.

“This is a most unusual circumstance, very extenuating,” said Harold’s lawyer outside of court.

“The accused man is gravely ill, his prognosis is very poor.”

“He’s desperately keen to attend his wife’s funeral, so those arrangements can now be progressed.”

Now that Harold is freed, he is staying with his daughter and will be attending his wife’s funeral.

As a part of his bail conditions, he must obey a curfew and report to police.

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