THE wife of a former Mayor of Winchester, charged with the attempted murder of his mother, told a court he was 'distraught' and 'broken' after her death. 

David McLean, 72, is currently on trial at Winchester Crown Court charged with the attempted murder of his 92-year-old mother Margaret McLean. He denies the charge.

Diane McLean told the court she had never seen her husband as distressed as he was on the evening of October 6 2022.

Mrs McLean said her mother-in-law's health had been deteriorating in the weeks before she died and that she didn't want to go to hospital. 

She said: “David was physically distressed about his mum having palliative care, he was tearful. She was very noisy with her breathing and not communicating.”

READ MORE: Winchester court updates: Former mayor David McLean standing trial

Hampshire Chronicle: David McLean and Winchester Crown Court

The court heard that a call was made by carers at around 9pm to say that Margaret McLean had deteriorated. McLean then went to his mother's bungalow with his wife and daughter, Erica Hall.

Mrs McLean, who was a community responder for 18 years, said: “David put photographs of her family in front of her. We think she recognised them.” It was decided that McLean would stay with his mother and Mrs McLean and Mrs Hall would leave.

At around 11pm Mrs Mclean got a call from her husband. She said: “David called and was very distressed, saying his mother was crying again. He told me she was drowning, with secretions coming out of her nose and mouth.”

Shortly after, Mrs McLean got another call from her husband who said: "She's gone."
When she came back to Margaret McLean's bungalow, Mrs McLean said her husband was 'absolutely distraught'. 

She added: “I hugged him and tried to calm him down. I have never seen him like that. He was distraught and broken. The police arrived shortly afterwards. It was all a bit of a blur.”

In cross-examination, Sarah Jones KC, defending, asked Mrs McLean about why her mother-in-law didn't want to go to hospital. Mrs McLean told the court that she had previously had bad experiences in hospital. She added: “She said 'the next time I leave the bungalow will be in a coffin'. 

“She was a very feisty and proud lady up until about 70. She was angry about her lack of independence. She used to be a great cook.”

Prosecuting barrister Jodie Mittell read a statement from Mrs Hall. On the night Margaret McLean died, she said her father said his goodbyes and said 'I will see you in heaven' and 'you will be with dad soon'. 

She added: “Dad was a mess, broken and sobbing. He wasn't making much sense.”

The trial continues.