An elderly couple who killed their disabled son nearly 15 years ago while ‘‘depressed and stressed’’ have been found dead in their western Sydney home.
Raymond and Margaret Sutton, who were placed on good behaviour bonds over the death of their 28-year-old son Matthew in 2001, were found dead inside their Leonay home, near Penrith, on Saturday morning.
Mrs Sutton’s brother became concerned and called the police, who broke into the couple’s Pleasant Place home at 11am and found two bodies.
A police spokeswoman said it was not yet clear how the pair died but murder-suicide would be one line of inquiry.
Neighbours described the pair as reclusive, saying they kept to themselves since moving into the one-storey brick home about 10 years ago.
The Suttons avoided jail time in 2007 for the manslaughter of their son, who was blind from birth and intellectually disabled.
They suffered from depression and stress and were affected by an "abnormality of mind" when they gave Matthew a fatal dose of sedatives, the NSW Supreme Court found.
A judge placed them both on five-year good behaviour bonds in 2007, saying it would be cruel and not in the community's interest to see them jailed.
The couple's barrister, Tony Bellanto, QC, said they would live with what had happened "for the rest of their lives" and had been living with "stress, depression [and] hardship for 30-odd years now".
Justice Graham Barr said the couple had devoted their lives to caring for their son and "even the last act was one born of love for him".
"They believed that what they did was right. Of course, it was not."
Mr Sutton initially told police he found their son dead in his bed but police grew suspicious in 2003 and placed listening devices in the home, which detected the couple talking about euthanasia and lying.
In 2003, Mrs Sutton was heard saying to her husband: ‘‘Long after the police have finished with us we will have to live with it anyway.’’
They admitted to killing their son in 2005.
A neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, said the pair ‘‘pretty much kept to themselves’’.
‘‘It’s sad, you don’t expect something like that to happen,’’ she said.
Forensic officers remained at the home on Saturday evening. A report will be prepared for the coroner.
Sane Australia: 1800 187263