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Heartbroken widower shot by armed police wanted to join 'wife in heaven'

A heartbroken 83-year-old man has avoided jail after using an imitation revolver to goad armed police to shoot him so he could 'join his wife in heaven'.

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Wolverhampton Crown Court

Armed police shot Albert Hale with a rubber bullet after his short-lived siege at his Dudley home.

The widower scared neighbours when he brandished the homemade pistol when complaining his GP had not taken a £90,000 offer to give his suffering wife a lethal injection.

A mother and daughter who lived next door but were in his house at the time feared for their safety when Hale began shouting in German in his home in Pine Green, Dudley, on the morning of July 5 this year.

The daughter, a police officer, and her mum escaped his house and tried to lock him inside by holding the door handle before calling the police.

Armed police arrived on the scene shortly afterwards and the incident was captured on an officer's bodycam. Footage was played to Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Officers could be seen crouching behind cars as another officer tried to reason with Hale, who was crying as he explained how much he loved his wife.

The officer replied: "I can imagine how you feel, you are hurting. Listen, what would she want?"

Another officer then shot Hale in the stomach with a rubber bullet. Thinking he had been killed, the pensioner thanked the police.

Officers then told him: "You have not been shot. Albert, keep talking to me, mate." Officers were later heard telling the defendant he was going to be 'absolutely fine'.

Pleading guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with the intention to cause fear, Hale was sentenced to eight months in prison, which was suspended for two years, with a 30-day rehabilitation requirement.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Ward recognised "suicide by firearms officers" was a recognised phenomenon. In America, there are similar incidents almost every week.

He said: "The idea of people trying to get armed police to kill them is not a new one. It sometimes happens when somebody is so upset that they don't know what to do and they feel that death is the only way out but for whatever reason, they don't feel it right to do it themselves."

"I don't expect you will ever get over the death of your wife and I'm sorry for it."

As Hale was led away, he thanked the judge.

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