Queen’s ex-pilot killed suffering wife in ‘act of love’ then took own life

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A pilot who flew the Queen and Princess Diana killed his dementia-stricken wife as an "act of compassion," a coroner has ruled.

Tony Meadows, 84, a former British Airways Concorde pilot and wife Paula, 83, were discovered dead at their £1.3million farm house near Bucklebury, Berkshire in April 2019.

The pair had just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary and Tony had been "struggling" to care for his dementia suffering wife.

Assistant coroner Ian Wade QC called the case "desperately sad" and said Mr Meadows committed suicide after unlawfully killing Mrs Meadows.

Describing the tragedy, Mr Wade said Mrs Meadows death was a "deliberate intervention by her adoring" husband Tony and was done out of "compassion."

The inquest heard Mr Meadows had been planning his and his wife's death for a few days and Mrs Meadows had been in "absolute agony" due to back pain in the weeks running up to the couple's bodies being discovered.

Mr Wade told the inquest: "I find she died as a result of the deliberate intervention by her adoring and concerned husband Tony.

"That he decided that he would go against nature and he took informed deliberate steps to end his wife's life – I'm quite sure out of compassion…

"I stress it is an act of love in my view and not a malignant act."

Daughter Nicola Meadows said she noticed her dad was "quite depressed" the last time she saw them both.

She said: "In my opinion daddy killed mummy because her life was dreadful… I don' think he wanted to live without her.

"They were married for 61 years and loved each other."

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The inquest heard Mr Meadows had served as a captain with British Airways and flew some of the first commercial Concorde flights.

He was co-pilot on the Concorde inaugural trip from Heathrow to New York in December 1977 and took full control on the return leg.

Writing about his life in 2017, he said: "Life for me was very exciting in 1977."

In 1979, he flew the Queen on the supersonic jet and has also piloted planes with Princess Diana on board.

  • Inquests

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