A SON has been cleared of murdering his mother at a Westcliff care home.

Robert Knight, 52, smiled in relief as the jury confirmed its majority verdict as Basildon Crown Court on Friday.

The jury, comprised of five women and seven men, cleared him of murder but he was guilty of manslaughter.

Knight had always admitted to killing his mother, June Knight, 79, by throwing her off a balcony at Langley Lodge care home in Westcliff on December 10 last year.

But he denied murdering her, saying he lost control of himself at the time.

During the course of the trial, the jury heard Knight had spent the day with his mother and left to teach a languages class.

After the class he returned, where CCTV showed Knight carrying his mother through a fire escape out onto the balcony shortly before 10pm.

He then pushed her off, watching her fall and sustaining serious head injuries, before going back inside and confessing to members of staff that he had killed her.

During his evidence, given in the witness box, Knight confessed that he had carried out the act as he “couldn’t bear to see her suffer any more”, and that his mother had been ill for many years.

At the time of her death, Mrs Knight was in “the final stages” of her life, and suffered from severe Alzheimer’s disease.

A spokesman for Langley Lodge said: “The death of Mrs Knight was a huge shock for all of us. We are all very saddened by the tragic circumstance of her death. June was well liked by staff and other residents in the home - she truly was a pleasure to care for.”

Knight, of The Fairway, Leigh, is remanded in custody until September 20 at the same court while a psychiatric report can be prepared before he receives his sentence.

This was the second trial into the killing after the first jury failed to reach a verdict.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Julie Gowen, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This is a tragic case involving a woman receiving end of life care who was killed by her only child.

“Robert did not display any sign of his intention to harm his mother or that this incident would take place.

“It is accepted by the jury that Knight suffered a loss of control on the night in question when he took his mother’s life in horrific circumstances.

“He will now be sentenced for her manslaughter.

“Care home workers who were on duty on the night of the murder had to endure a scene which was shocking in nature.  

“They will now have to come to terms with what they witnessed that night and support has been put in place by their employers to deal with this trauma.

“I would like to thank the care home for their assistance during our investigation and I hope staff and residents are able to move forward with their lives.

“This has been a particularly harrowing case for all involved and Robert Knight will now need to live with his actions for the rest of his life.”