06/06/2012 12:27 EDT | Updated 08/06/2012 05:12 EDT

Edmonton Senior Who Smothered Wife Avoids Jail


An 83-year-old Edmonton man who smothered his severely alcoholic wife will not go to jail.

Noel Lavery was sentenced Wednesday to house arrest for two years after killing 50-year-old Sherry Lavery on Sept. 27, 2006.

Lavery held a pillow over his wife's face while she lay passed out on her bed.

His wife was in the last stages of severe alcoholism and Lavery hoped to put her out of her misery, the trial heard.

Lavery left the Edmonton courthouse escorted by friends and even his dead wife's family by his side.

"He has already suffered the worst possible punishment," said Justice Donna Shelley in passing sentence.

"He has lost his wife after watching her suffer horribly for a long time," she said.

Jail would not serve society

Lavery "loved her a great deal" and "suffered greatly watching her suffer," said Shelley, who decided sending Lavery to jail would not serve him or society.

The judge ordered Lavery to perform 240 hours of community service during his house arrest and another 120 hours while serving a further two-year probation period.

At the completion of his probation, Lavery will be almost 88 years old.

The sentence was in line with what defense lawyer Peter Royal was seeking.

He argued that Sherry Lavery's death was a "mercy killing" and that her husband hoped to put her out of her misery.

Royal also argued that sending a man of Lavery's age to prison would be cruel and unusual punishment as he would likely die behind bars.

The Crown prosecutor was seeking an eight-year prison term.