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ACT Policing

92-Year-Old Canberra Man To Plead Guilty In Murder Of Wife Of 69 Years

A 92-year-old Canberra man, Donald Morley appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court today through a video link, indicating his intention to plead guilty to the murder of his wife, Jean Morley.

The elderly couple, who had been married for an astounding 69 years, came under the scrutiny of authorities after a health worker discovered Jean’s body during a routine visit on July 31.

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According to court documents, Mr Morley is accused of allegedly suffocating his wife at their  Fisher home in July.

On July 31, a health worker who was scheduled to treat Mr Morley’s skin cancer and change dressings lost his contact. 

When she revisited the address later that day, Mr Morley reportedly confessed to committing a “terrible thing” and directed her to the bedroom where Jean was found.

Mrs Morley, 92, was discovered with covers pulled up to her neck and her head on a pillow. 

The court documents highlight Mr Morley’s statement to the nurse, where he referred to his late wife as “my angel”.

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Police believe this makes Donald Morley the oldest person in the Australian Capital Territory to be charged with murder. 

During his first court appearance in August, he joined the proceedings via video link from the Canberra Hospital, where he was admitted after attempting to take his own life.

A statement of facts previously tendered in court revealed that Mr Morley had been battling dementia for at least the last year of her life, struggling with articulating thoughts and performing household tasks.

A note found on the kitchen counter writes: “Please don’t call this murder-suicide”. 

“After 69 years married, we were both afraid of the future. Sorry to upset all our family and friends. This wasn’t easy for me, especially my darling”.

Mr Morley has been committed to the Supreme Court, where he is expected to be arraigned on the charge of murder in the coming weeks, paving the way for sentencing. 

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