Hornsey Rise grandmother accused of suffocating former partner with Tottenham Hotspur bag

Iberia House

Iberia House - Credit: Archant

A grandmother suffocated her terminally-ill former partner with a Tottenham Hotspur plastic bag because she believed he was “better off” dead, a court heard today.

Joyce Evans, 69, was the sole carer for Colin Ballinger, who was house-bound at the flat they shared in Hornsey Rise after being diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and had been told he had a year to live.

She is alleged to have strangled ex-soldier Mr Ballinger, 66, and put plastic bags over his head before knocking on a neighbour’s door and saying: “I think I’ve killed Colin. He was getting on my nerves.”

When concerned neighbours went to help, Mr Ballinger was found lying on his back on the living room of the flat in Iberia House, New Orleans Walk, with blood coming from the side of his head, the Old Bailey heard.

Evans went back into the flat and was seen kneeling down next to Mr Ballinger, telling him: “Don’t worry babe, baby, go to sleep,” the jury was told.

She is also alleged to have closed his eyes, saying: “You’re better off like this.”

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson said paramedics tried to revive Mr Ballinger but Evans, who had been drinking vodka and appeared intoxicated, tried to stop them, saying: “Leave him alone, he’s dead, he’s gone.”

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Mr Ballinger was taken to hospital on July 30 last year but died the next morning.

A post-mortem examination found he died from the combined effects of strangulation and being suffocated with a plastic bag.

Ms Johnson told the court: “The defendant strangled Colin for at least 15 seconds, and probably longer, and with enough force to cause a fracture to his voice box.”

When Evans was arrested, she is said to have told police: “I’m guilty. I put the bag over his head. I should have just topped myself after I did it.”

A Tottenham Hotspur carrier bag and Hamleys toy shop bag were found in Evans’s home, Ms Johnson said.

Both were torn, blood-stained and had saliva inside them, she added.

According to Evans’s version of events she found Mr Ballinger lying on the floor, telling her: “I’ve had enough. I wish it was all over.”

Ms Johnson said: “There is no such thing as mercy killing in English law. It is neither an offence, or defence, in law.”

She added: “It goes without saying that this is a tragic case for all of those involved. Colin Ballinger has lost his life through violence, rather than the natural process of death.

“The fact that he was dying is of no relevance. Life is always sacred, irrespective of how long there is left to enjoy.”

Evans, who told police she had an “on-off” relationship with Mr Ballinger for 25 years, will allege that her responsibility was impaired because she was suffering from depression at the time.

The prosecution case was reopened after a new juror had to be selected for the panel of 12.

Evans denies a single allegation of murder.

The trial continues.