How a respected Preston wife and mother ended her life emaciated, neglected and with rotting flesh wounds

Bernadette Green had been a strong and devout woman throughout her adult life - but ended it as a neglected pensioner smothered to death by her own son as she lay in her excrement with rotting flesh wounds.

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 9:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 5:50 pm
John Green murdered his elderly mother Bernadette at their home in Inkerman Street, Preston

Today her son John Green is beginning a life sentence for her murder after a jury at Preston Crown Court found him guilty of smothering her.

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Former Preston policeman John Green is guilty of murdering his elderly mum who w...

She was born Bernadette Shorrock in 1930 in the then Amounderness district of Lancashire, and lived in Preston during the war, where it is understood she worked at a munitions factory.

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John Green murdered his elderly mother Bernadette at their home in Inkerman Street, Preston

She married John Green senior in Preston in December 1952 and almost 11 months later their only son, John, was born.

The couple brought him up at their terraced brick home on Inkerman Street, Plungington.

The family were very devout Catholics and attended St Walburge’s Church every Sunday.

John Jr went to Preston Catholic College and also studied computing at Harris College. He was still living at home with his parents when he joined Lancashire Police on January 28, 1974, starting as a constable based in Preston at Lawson Street.

In court he said: “I felt I could do more with my life to serve the public, protect and help them.”

It was during his early years in the force he met his future wife Janet.

The couple set up home in Penwortham and got married on January 12, 1979, had two children, Rebecca and Douglas, and moved to New Longton.

Green had various roles in the Constabulary, serving at HQ in Hutton on the drugs branch, before becoming a DC at Preston CID for around seven years. He had also served as a firearms officer.

But in the 1990s he became ill, collapsing at work. He tried to return to a uniformed role but things did not work out and he was given a medical discharge from the force in late 1992.

He took a year’s sabbatical to recover from the illness and then started work at his children’s school as a site supervisor - but this role also ended after he needed surgery on his back.

Green moved back to live with his mother in 2009 when his marriage collapsed.

The court heard his son had joined the police in Scotland, but their relationship was strained after the divorce and they rarely kept in touch.

His daughter, with whom he had a better relationship, left the city to go to university.

By the time Green moved back to his mother’s in 2009, his dad had been in the Swansea Terrace nursing home on Riversway for three years after suffering a series of small strokes and a larger one that left him quadriplegic. The same year, Mrs Green was taken to hospital after a fall on the stairs, and began to rely increasingly on her son.

The mother and son lived a fairly isolated life together, though at first, Green would take her to see her husband each night, until he died in the home in August 2011.

In court he said: “I would sort my dad out while she held his hand and spoke to him. He couldn’t speak.

“He was very aware but his hearing was pretty bad, but he could understand.

“I would set the television up, he would watch his sport.”

Mrs Green suffered various health issues including glaucoma, arthritis, high blood pressure, and mobility issues and around 20 years ago stopped attending church. For the last nine years of her life she had been virtually housebound. Her only trips out were a weekly visit on a Thursday to the hairdresser her son would take her to, and they went shopping together once a month in Preston. She was said to have no other family but was visited by her next door neighbours George and Marjorie Kenyon, who would take their pet dog Jasper to see her.

Green said he would cook her a roast each Sunday.

His only freedom was in 2014 when he started to have flying lessons.

He also told the court he would get some “fresh air” by visiting Preston Marina and looking at the boats, and would rarely see former police force friends.

But Mrs Green’s health declined and he found himself increasingly tied into caring for her.

Neighbours thought they enjoyed a normal mother and son relationship and he appeared to be a caring and attentive son.

However, his motive for the killing was revealed in a series of incriminating text messages he sent to his daughter in the years leading up to Mrs Green’s death in which he “dehumanised” his mother, referring to her as “it” and a “stinking corpse”.

He claimed he felt trapped in a life that he regarded as a ‘crock of crap’ - tending to a woman he regarded not as his mother but as a burden whose lingering existence was ruining his life.

As far back as 2013 he wrote: “If the walnut does not die tonight I am going to kill her.”

In November 2016, Green wrote: “This is effing mental. When does it die? It’s orribubble.”

And in April 2018 he described her as a “stinking corpse”.

On May 18, 2018 Bernadette died in her bed weighing just six stone.

Green texted his daughter: “That’s it sweetheart. It was a slow, miserable, messy end but she’s finally gone. Now to something more important...”