Port Macquarie Local Court hears case of 81-year-old David Allen Esling and attempted murder of his wife in alleged "suicide pact"

PORT Macquarie Local Court has heard the details of an alleged failed "suicide pact" involving an 81-year-old Kew man and his wife who has been diagnosed with deteriorating semantic dementia.

David Allen Esling, 81, of Resort Road appeared via audio-visual link on June 24 to face one count of attempted murder.

Magistrate Price heard that some time between 4pm on April 3 and 9.22am on April 4, Mr Esling allegedly attempted to stab his wife of 54 years, Suzanne Esling.

The court heard the pair had discussed the viability of ending both their lives and allegedly agreed to a suicide pact after Mrs Esling was diagnosed with rapidly deteriorating semantic dementia.

Semantic dementia results in a decline in language abilities and the ability to assign meaning to words is gradually lost. Reading, spelling, comprehension and expression are usually affected.

The prosecution's case included a "full and frank admission" by Mr Esling in what has been described as a failed suicide attempt of both the victim and defendant.

The court heard Mr Esling attempted self-harm while in custody and was taken to Port Macquarie Base Hospital where he was later charged with attempted murder. He was refused bail on April 5.

In court on June 24, Magistrate Price took into consideration the fact Mr Esling had no prior criminal record and granted strict conditional bail, despite the prosecution's concerns for his ongoing mental health if released.

Mr Esling is to live under the strict supervision of his daughter in Queensland and attend the Gunyah Centre of Wellness at Nambour.

He has not entered a plea.

Attempted murder carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

Mr Esling's matter was adjourned to Port Macquarie Local Court for committal on August 22. He is not required to attend.

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