A MAN who threw his mother to her death from the first-floor of a care home has walked free from court. 

During an extraordinary sentencing, Judge Samantha Leigh said Robert Knight “acted out of love and desperation” and the case was “firmly a mercy killing”.

Mr Knight, 53, had visited his 79-year-old mother June every day for the last ten years while she was in Langley Lodge care home, Westcliff.

She was suffering with end-stage Alzheimer’s and was no longer able to communicate or move.

Knight, of the Fairway, Leigh, denied murder and was cleared of the charge after trial. He had admitted manslaughter by reason of loss of control and, for this, was handed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.

On Friday, at Basildon Crown Court, Judge Leigh said: “This is a very sad case. Anyone listening to the details of Mrs Knight’s illness and your devotion to her couldn’t fail to be moved.

“You are someone who acted out of love and desperation.”

The court heard on December 10 last year, Knight raised concerns about his mother’s breathing which had become raspy and laboured.

He had also raised concerns when she was sick earlier, a symptom which it was later discovered was attributed to a twisted bowel.

After her death, a post mortem revealed the condition which the judge said could have caused her considerable pain.

The court heard care home staff did not believe she would survive the night and that there was a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order in place.

Judge Leigh added: “The defendant – who I accept knew his mother best – was firmly of the belief that his mother was suffering and it was more than he could bear.”

The court heard after playing music to her, Knight picked his mother up, said his goodbyes and then dropped her off the fire escape balcony.

Judge Leigh added: “You’ve been described as a devoted son and a loving and caring person.

“It’s firmly a mercy killing in my view with exceptional circumstances for example the devotion you’ve shown to your mother throughout your life and the suffering she was experiencing.

"It’s the manner of the killing which focuses the mind and is deserved of punishment.”

Mitigating, Michael Levy told the court a prison sentence would “not be in the public interest” and that Knight had already spent nine months in prison.

Knight must also complete 60 days of a rehabilitation activity.

Det Chief Insp Daniel Stoten, of the Serious Crime Directorate, said: “June Knight was receiving end of life care before she was killed by her only child, Robert Knight.

“He had regularly visited his mother and there were no signs that this horrific incident would take place.

“The jury carefully considered the facts of the case and agreed that Knight suffered a loss of control when he took his mother’s life. 

“The care home staff and the attending police officers were faced with a horrific scene and I would like to thank them for their efforts to save June Knight. 

“I would also like to thank the care home for their assistance during our investigation and I hope the staff and residents are able to move forward with their lives.

“June Knight’s death has been a particularly harrowing case. 

“I do not doubt that Robert Knight loved his mother deeply, but his actions were deplorable and they have affected many, many people. 

“My thoughts are with June and the care home staff, police and ambulance teams that tried to save her and will still have to deal with what they saw. 

“Robert Knight will now need to live with his actions for the rest of his life.”