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Scientist jailed for killing 83-year-old wife in row over duvet

Marjorie Elphick
Marjorie Elphick

A retired scientist who murdered his elderly partner in a row over a duvet has been jailed for life, police said.

Edgar Fairhurst, 74, will serve a minimum of 20 years in jail after being convicted of murdering Marjorie Elphick, 83.

Ms Elphick's body was discovered at the home she shared with Fairhurst in Riverside Close, Bideford, Devon on December 30 last year.

They had been together for around 40 years and during an argument Fairhurst attacked his partner with a hammer inflicting fatal injuries.

Fairhurst had admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility but denied murder.

He was convicted by a jury following a four-day trial at Exeter Crown Court and jailed for life by the judge, Mr Justice Teare.

Detective Inspector Sharon Donald, who led the investigation, said: "Marjorie Elphick was an independent, active lady that was dearly loved by her son, niece, relatives and friends.

"In the early hours of December 30 Marjorie was subjected to an unprovoked, violent and sustained attack in her own bed; the perpetrator being her partner of 40 years Edgar Fairhurst.

Edgar Fairhurst

"Tragically, Marjorie's injuries proved fatal and she died at the scene.

"Today justice has been served. I would like to thank the local officers and investigation team for their commitment and professionalism during this case, and reiterate my deepest condolences to Marjorie's family and loved ones for their tragic loss."

In a statement released by Devon and Cornwall Police, the victim's family said: "Marjorie Elphick was a kind and vivacious woman.

"We have been devastated by her loss as she was not only a vibrant member of her community, and valued by her many friends, but was someone who meant a great deal to the four generations of our small family.

"Although she was 83, she was a healthy, active person with the promise of many more full years in front of her.

"This life has been cruelly cut short, and it will be very difficult for our family to envisage life without her."