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Carer went on trip day before murdering terminally ill soldier in Islington home, court told

PUBLISHED: 21:14 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:14 21 March 2013

A carer murdered a terminally ill former soldier in the home they shared, a court has heard.

Colin Ballinger, 66, was house-bound after being diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and relied on former partner Joyce Evans, 69, to tend to his needs, a jury at the Old Bailey was told.

Mr Ballinger’s alcoholism was partly to blame for their relationship breakdown, but he moved into Evans’s flat in New Orleans Walk, Islington, at the end of 2011 when he became unwell, having previously lived at a home for ex-servicemen.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson told the court: “He was ill.

“But it was not until April 2012 that Mr Ballinger was told that he was dying.”

Mr Ballinger was given a year to live by his doctor. He was confined to a bed in the living room of the flat and was in pain, but had expressed no desire to die or to have anyone help him end his life, Ms Johnson said.

He is alleged to have been murdered on July 13 last year. Evans denies a charge of murder.

Neighbours said the pair rarely argued and that Evans was responsible for all of Mr Ballinger’s needs, including washing him and feeding him on occasion, the court heard.

If Evans, a grandmother, ever had to go away for a long period of time, Mr Ballinger would “get rather annoyed”, the jury of 10 women and two men was told.

Ms Johnson told the court of health problems suffered by Evans herself, who has limited mobility, suffers from arthritis, asthma and depression.

The pair had professional help from a local end of life and palliative care team, as well as a social worker and district nurse who made weekly visits, she said.

In the weeks leading up to Mr Ballinger’s death, Evans tearfully complained to the social worker about “tensions” that had arisen in the household, the prosecutor said.

In early July, Evans said she needed a break, and the jury was told she had been forced to cancel a planned trip to Turkey in the run up to Mr Ballinger’s death.

But she went on a day trip to Kent with her daughter the day before the alleged murder and a friend who looked after Mr Ballinger on that occasion said he was “unaware of any anger between her and Colin”, the court heard.

Ms Johnson told the jury: “Clearly, and this goes without saying, being the full-time and sole carer for Colin was hard, and at times unrewarding work.

“But during the course of this case, you will have to examine carefully how stressful looking after Colin Ballinger really was and how much it interfered with the defendant’s life.”

The trial continues.

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