A couple convicted of killing their blind and mentally disabled son walked free from a Sydney court Wednesday after a judge said they committed the crime out of love.
Prosecutors had called for prison terms for Raymond Sutton, 63, and his wife Margaret Sutton, 60, after they pleaded guilty last year in the New South Wales state Supreme Court to the manslaughter of their 28-year-old son, Matthew.
But Supreme Court Justice Graham Barr placed the pair on five-year good behavior bonds, saying their son's death was "born of love for him."
Under the terms of the bond, if either commits a criminal offense within five years, he or she will appear before the same court again for sentencing.
They each faced a potential 25 years in prison.
A post-mortem examination failed to establish what killed the son and the Suttons have never revealed the method.
The parents suffered from depression and stress, and were affected by an "abnormality of mind" when they killed their son in their Sydney home in 2001, the judge said.
Their son, who had been blind since birth and loved music, died a day before he was to have brain surgery that would probably have taken his hearing and sense of smell too.
"With all the love we had for Matti, we borrowed from his strength and courage and released him from any more pain and suffering," Margaret Sutton said at an earlier hearing.
Raymond Sutton told the court his wife sedated their son before he "released Matthew from this world."