An elderly man who tried to kill himself and his seriously
ill wife in a failed murder-suicide pact was motivated by his
overwhelming love for her, his barrister says.
Victorian man Heinz Karl Klinkermann, 73, has pleaded guilty
to the attempted murder of his 84-year-old wife Beryl
Klinkermann believed only he could properly care for his
wife, who suffered from severe dementia and Parkinson's
disease, his barrister Tim Marsh told the Victorian Supreme
Court in Ballarat today.
After a visit from a nurse at their Yandoit home in which his
wife was "totally unresponsive", Mr Klinkermann decided to
end both of their lives.
He drugged himself and his wife with sleeping pills and held
her hand as he tried to poison them with carbon monoxide in
their lounge room on the night of August 1, 2012.
A nurse found the couple unconscious in their home the
following morning and called emergency services.
They was rushed to a Ballarat hospital, where they both
Mr Klinkermann later told police the couple had decided "we
were going together".
Mr Marsh said Mr Klinkermann had been unable to relinquish
the care of his wife to a nursing home.
"The idea of Beryl being in a nursing home and he not being
able to look after her was incomprehensible to him," the
"He was motivated by his overwhelming love for his wife and
despair at the thought of life without her."
The couple married in 2003.
Mr Marsh called for a non-custodial sentence, saying the fact
the couple was prevented from contacting each other was the
most serious form of punishment.
Prosecutor Mark Rochford agreed that a non-custodial sentence
was a viable option.
He said police had found evidence Klinkermann had researched
euthanasia website Exit International on his computer.
Justice Betty King acknowledged she faced a difficult