Pensioner commits suicide

String of Alzheimer's 'mercy killings' in Italy

(ANSA) - Turin, May 6 - A pensioner who suffocated his wife to death because she was suffering from advanced Alzheimer's disease has committed suicide, sources said Friday.
    Retired driver Angiolo Zanasi, 91, hanged himself in his room in a private Turin-area clinic. On November 19 last year he killed wife Lia Cotroneo, 88, then tried unsuccessfully to kill himself.
    Italy has seen a string of "mercy killings" of elderly Alzheimer's sufferers by their spouses. Alzheimer's is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive dementia, and there is no cure. In March, an 86-year-old man was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for killing his ailing wife because he did not want her to suffer any more. Vitangelo Bini was convicted of aggravated murder in the death of wife Mara Tani, 82, who had been seriously ill with Alzheimer's for 12 years.
    Bini, a former traffic policeman, shot Tani in a Prato hospital on December 1, 2007. He will not serve time in jail because of his advanced age.
    Also in March, an 85-year-old man strangled his 83-year-old wife to death, alerted the couple's son by phone, then hanged himself in the garage. That incident took place in the small town of Staranzano in Gorizia province.