Pump Court Chambers

Sarah Jones KC defends former Mayor accused of attempted murder

News 13th May 2024

On 6th October 2022 Margaret McLean, aged 92, was dying of bronchopneumonia with added complications due to heart disease. Her breathing was becoming more and more laboured and distressing as she struggled to clear her own secretions. In reporting her death that night to the NHS telephone helpline her son confessed to placing a cushion over her face and smothering her to end her suffering. He repeated this account to police officers at her home when they came to arrest him and in interviews under caution. Pathology showed no evidence of Mrs McLean having been smothered and so David McLean, who had worked hard for his local community and even served as Mayor of Winchester, was charged with attempted murder. Representations were made to the CPS and to the Attorney General to halt the prosecution but a decision was made to continue to trial where the Defendant was represented by Sarah Jones K.C. leading Tom Horder instructed by Alex Moore of Churchers solicitors. The defence obtained psychiatric evidence that Mr McLean was suffering an acute stress reaction at the time of giving his account which likely rendered his confession unreliable and an expert instructed by the prosecution agreed. On Thursday Mrs Justice McGowan directed the jury to acquit Mr McLean after a successful half time submission.

The case attracted national press coverage, including the BBC and Guardian websites.

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