A couple who killed their severely disabled son in an “act of love” have been found dead at their home in Sydney’s west.
The bodies of Margaret and Raymond Sutton were discovered at their property in Pleasant Place, Leonay, near Penrith on Saturday morning.
Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the case and detectives are investigating whether the couple, aged in their late 60s, took their own lives.
Mr and Mrs Sutton’s son Matthew had been born blind, mostly deaf and had severe mental disabilities.
His tragic death and the ensuing court case divided public opinion at the time.
It remains a heart-rending incident that highlights the often hidden anguish that some families cope with while living with disability.
Margaret and Raymond Sutton killed 28-year-old Matthew in April 2001, on the eve of an operation that would have likely robbed him of any remaining ability to hear.
Matthew had no eyes and lived in a home for the disabled in the nearby Blue Mountains. He was killed while visiting his parents at their Leonay home.
Mr and Mrs Sutton admitted the killing in 2005 and in 2007 they were placed on five-year good behaviour bonds, with a judge saying no further sentence could add to their suffering.
Supreme Court Justice Graham Barr said at the time that the couple devoted their lives to their son’s care and that their decision to end his life was “born of love for him”.
The court heard Mrs Sutton gave Matthew a sedative before her husband “released him from this world”.
Mr Sutton never revealed how he killed Matthew and an autopsy failed to establish a cause of death.
After the sentence was handed down, Mr and Mrs Sutton’s lawyer Tony Bellanto said the couple would suffer for the rest of their lives.
“I don’t think I’ve ever come across a case that touched the emotions as this one did,” Mr Bellanto said in 2007.
“They (the Suttons) will never be able to completely move away from what’s happened.
“They are coping of course but they will be suffering for the rest of their lives.”
It remains unclear how Mr and Mrs Sutton died but police confirmed no one else was involved.
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.