A former Hampshire mayor tried to murder his dying mother by smothering her with a cushion, jurors have been told.

The former mayor of Winchester David McLean, 72, is alleged to have tried to kill Margaret McLean, 92, because he could not bear to see her suffering, a court heard.

He was on a bedside vigil for his bedbound mother who had been diagnosed with Covid and pneumonia a couple of days earlier at her home in Chase Grove, Waltham Chase, near Bishop's Waltham.

After he thought he had succeeded McLean rang the NHS helpline 111 to admit what he had done and also confessed to the police after his arrest shortly after.

Opening the case Jodie Mittell, prosecuting, said: "This is in any view a sad case. The defendant is an upstanding member of the community, someone of impeccable good character, a former mayor of Winchester.

"On the evening of October 6 2022 Mr McLean, for reasons you may have some sympathy with, tried to end his elderly mother's life.

"His mother Margaret was 92 years old and she was dying. She was on end of life care and he was at her bedside vigil. Suddenly Mr McLean tried to speed up his mother's demise using a pillow and he attempted to smother her."

Ms Mittell said Mrs McLean did die at or around the time of her son's actions.

She said McLean called NHS 111 and spoke to an operator.

Ms Mittell said: "Having provided his mother's details he said he had never set out to kill her but that his mum was dead. He explained to the operator she was 92 and she was dying and 'I helped her. I had to kill her, I had to. She was suffocating on her own snot. I put a cushion over her face. I had to do it to stop her suffering'."

The police were called shortly after midnight on October 7 and McLean was arrested on suspicion of murder. In interview he told police he had just had Covid and drank two or three small glasses of whisky but did not believe either contributed to his actions.

Ms Mittell added: "He said he had seen a couple of people die. He heard the death rattle and 'I just decided to send her off. I couldn't live with myself standing there watching her drown. I can't remember where the cushion came from, I just remember putting it over her face. I couldn't stand the pain'."

McLean, of Morley Drive, Bishop's Waltham, who served as mayor of Winchester and as a city councillor for Bishop's Waltham until May 2023, denies attempted murder.

The judge, Mrs Justice McGowan told the jury that by coincidence the House of Commons was today debating assisted dying, but added: "That is not what this case is about and it is a remarkable coincidence that the two things have happened on the same day. It has no bearing on this case."

The trial before a jury of eight men and four women is expected to last at least two weeks.