Husband jailed over starvation death
Andrew Devine sentenced to 12 months in prison over starvation death of his wife. Picture: Bill Hatto/ The West Australian

A husband who admitted manslaughter after his bed-ridden wife starved to death while he was caring for her has been jailed for twelve months, but could be released by October.

Andrew Devine, 58, was originally charged with the wilful murder of his wife of 27 years, Janene, in July last year following her death in March 2007.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in April this year.

Mrs Devine, who suffered from multiple sclerosis and was being cared for by her husband at home in Bullcreek, weighed just 30kg on the day of her death.

WA's Supreme Court was told police found Mrs Devine's body in squalid conditions, and she was also suffering from sepsis caused by infected bed sores when she died.

Devine was suffering from serious mental illness at the time of his wife's death, Justice Ralph Simmonds said, which prompted the lesser charge.

Justice Simmonds said Devine's mental state meant his criminal and moral culpability at the time was reduced.

But he told the court on reflection, he could not suspend the sentence - although with parole and time served he could be out in October.

Mrs Devine had already been admitted to hospital in an emaciated state six months before her death, and doctors decided to insert a feeding tube into the 48 year-old's stomach to aid her care.

Janene Devine.
Her husband was supposed to give his wife four cans of liquidised food per day, but variable gave her one third, one quarter, or one half of the required amount a day.

As she lost weight, her two sons did not fully realise how thin she had become because she was always lying under blankets when they visited.

Before his sentencing, Mr Devine told Seven News he accepted he had played a part in his wife’s death but did not intend to kill her.

“She became quite sick,” Mr Devine told Seven News.

“She required full care and I was having trouble looking after her and obviously things got out of hand.”

Mrs Devine's death prompted a colonial inquest in October 2012, which was then referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The West Australian

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