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Nurse jailed for murdering parents

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A nurse found guilty of using “extreme violence” to murder her elderly parents has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years.

Susan Toop killed her father, Arthur Toop, 82, and mother, Joan, 74, at their bungalow in Bournemouth, Dorset, on November 28, 2008.

The unmarried 54-year-old, who lived with her parents, stabbed them several times before hitting them repeatedly with an ornamental flat iron.

Toop had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but was found guilty of murder by a jury at Winchester Crown Court in July.

She was sentenced at the Royal Courts of Justice in London by Mr Justice David Clarke, who imposed two life terms.

Toop, who was present in the dock of the court, was told by the judge that she had done a “terrible thing”, killing her parents with “great violence”. He described it as a “sad and tragic” case.

The judge said the jurors convicted Toop of the murder of both her parents and the verdict was one they were “entirely entitled to reach”.

He told Toop that although there was “clear evidence of abnormality of mind”, the jury clearly thought it did not “significantly or substantially reduce your responsibility for the terrible thing you did in killing your parents that night”.

Toop, who had worked as a clinical leader at the outpatients department of the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, told police she wanted to put her parents “out of their misery”.

But passing sentence, the judge said: “Your motivation for killing your parents is far from clear even now. It appears that you had come to believe that they were ready to die or wished to die, but it must be made quite clear that there is no objective evidence… that supports that view. It was a false belief.”

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