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Man who killed dying mum with pillow in Plaistow jailed 18 months by Old Bailey judge

11:55 20 January 2014

Myrna Holman and daughter Nettie

Myrna Holman and daughter Nettie

Central News

The brother of a man who smothered their dying mother with a pillow to end her life in pain has claimed an Old Bailey judge let him “go free”.

Roland Holman, 55, was jailed for 18 months after suffocating Myrna Holman at her home in Plaistow.

He has already served nearly eight months’ custody and is due for release in a few weeks.

But Holman’s brother David said after Friday’s sentencing: “It’s disgusting that someone can make a 999 call saying they’ve just killed their mother and get away with it.

“He did it to help my mum—but that judge has given him a pat on the back and let him go free.”

He added: “I never had the chance to sit with mum and hold her hand.”

Mrs Holman, 76, had pancreatic cancer and was given 12 weeks to live.

Holman was alone with her at the house in Routemaster Close, off Greengate Street, when he made a 999 call on June 1 and sobbed: “I’ve just stopped everything and killed my mum. I suffocated her.

“Can you please come round and put me away?”

Police found Holman beside her body, clutching her hand.

He later told police: “She asked me to do it for her.

“I put the pillow over her—she didn’t even struggle.”

Holman, a former shop steward from Jedburgh Road in Plaistow, admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. Psychiatrists accept he had depressive illness.

Judge Richard Marks told Holman: “You ended her life to put an end to her suffering—but one consequence is she wasn’t able to die surrounded by her family. None of them had the opportunity of saying goodbye.”

The judge hoped that in time David “feels able to forgive his brother”.

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