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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.
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 recovered.
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 lawyer said.
"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 sentencing task.