A MAN who tried to suffocate his wife as she slept as he could not cope with the mess builders were causing in their new home has been cleared of attempted murder on the grounds of insanity.

The jury at Teesside Crown Court agreed with Alec Jordison's assertion that he was not in his right state of mind and as such did not know what he was doing was wrong.

The 70-year-old, who has been treated for severe depression, had forced his hand over wife Pam's mouth as she slept and then pinched her nose in order to stop her breathing.

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However, Mrs Jordison, who has been married to her husband for 35 years, awoke and then bit the defendant's hand in order to get him off her.

Mr Jordison, who is known as 'Dave', had described in his own words how the couple's new home in Fountains Road, Northallerton, was in an horrendous state and “like a building site”.

He found himself unable to cope and was accused of trying to kill his wife on October 8 last year with the intention of then taking his own life either by drowning himself or slashing his wrists with a knife.

The pensioner had told a psychologist that suffocating his wife was in fact an act of kindness and his account of what happened matched hers.

However, during his trial he repeatedly claimed he could not remember details of the attack. He said he and his wife still loved each other very much and he would not “harm a hair on her head”.

Before returning a not guilty verdict the jury had asked for a letter written by Mrs Jordison to be re-read as evidence.

In it she said Mr Jordison was a caring husband and a great father to two beautiful daughters.

She said: “He has never shown any aggression of any kind and is the best type of husband any wife can have.

“There is so much good in my husband. His deep depression caused by us moving house turned his life upside down.”

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said an order was to be sought regarding the defendant's future medical treatment, which will be discussed in a future court hearing.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service defended the decision to prosecute Mr Jordison and said it was felt it had a “strong case”.

She said: “The judge commented that the decision to prosecute was the right one, however the jury has made its decision which we accept.”