A DAUGHTER wept in the witness box as she denied murdering her mother.

Keeley Barnard said she had used a pillow to create a barrier between herself and her mother, Margaret Sims as they were sharing a sofa bed.

But ten minutes later, she noticed her mother made a gasping noise and stopped breathing.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Barnard, 52, was sharing a bed at her sister’s home in Stanford-le-Hope.

Mrs Sims, 70, from Clacton, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, had gone to bed earlier.

Barnard joined her at about 11.30pm and placed a pillow between them.

Giving evidence in court yesterday, Barnard said about ten minutes after she got into the bed and noticed her mother made a gasping noise and stopped breathing.

She also recalled how her mother moved her feet when sleeping but she stopped which sparked her attention.

Barnard said she started massaging her mother’s throat in an attempt to dislodge something and clear her airways.

A post mortem examination found Mrs Sims had died of compression to the neck caused by strangulation.

Barnard gave limited CPR to her mother, administering three breaths.

She said: “I didn’t hear her breathing - I didn’t hear anything.

“I put my hand on her heart trying to tap her heart but I couldn’t feel her heartbeat so I tried to push her chest. I thought I could help her in the back of my mind.

“I didn’t strangle my mum, I was trying to help her.”

During the defence opening Barnard was asked by defence barrister Michael Levy if she had killed her mother to “put her out of her misery” of frailty and Alzheimer’s.

She cried as she replied: “Absolutely not”.

Barnard, of Hopkins Mead, Chelmsford, was also asked how she felt when she found out her mother was dead. She said: “I was devastated. I was thinking I couldn’t believe she’d gone.”

Under cross-examination from Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, Barnard was asked if she thought any other parties were involved with her mother’s death.

She said: “I can’t say anyone killed my mother. I believe she died because she choked. I thought she was having a choking fit. I thought that shaking her and massaging her throat would wake her up.”

n The trial continues.