29 Feb 2024

80-year-old jailed for killing his wife in retirement village

11:26 am on 29 February 2024

By Rachel Moore of Stuff

John Salter appears in Hamilton High Court for sentencing of the murder of his wife Jean.

John Salter appears in Hamilton High Court for sentencing of the murder of his wife Jean. Photo: Stuff / Mark Taylor

An 80-year-old man has been sentenced to four years imprisonment for killing his 78-year-old wife in a retirement village in Mount Maunganui.

John Alfred Salter appeared at Hamilton High Court before Justice Francis Cooke on Thursday after already spending four months in custody.

A minimum period of imprisonment was not imposed, and Salter would be eligible for parole after one third of his sentence.

When Cooke passed his sentence, he told Salter not to give up hope, and to start thinking about his future now.

Police were called to Metlifecare's Bayswater retirement village at 6.55pm where they found the body of Jean Salter on 8 October.

Salter plead guilty to murdering Jean, 78, in their apartment, strangling her with a neck tie he had hidden behind a cushion.

She gasped, "Oh John" several times as he killed her, according to court documents previously obtained by Stuff.

He then went into his bathroom and tried to kill himself. When that failed, he called a relative, then police.

The documents say the suggestion that Jean go into full-time care "caused John to become stressed and concerned about being separated from his wife".

According to the court summary, Salter claimed he had spoken to Jean in the week leading up to the killing about a suicide pact. She would nod in agreement, before forgetting the arrangement.

In preparation, Salter started taking blood thinners, the documents say. He told police he killed Jean because he could not live without her and planned to kill himself to be with her.

Salter has been in custody since his last court appearance in November.

This story was originally published by Stuff.