A pensioner who tried to strangle his wife in the mistaken belief they were going to be evicted has today been freed from jail.

George Tugwell, who uses a wheelchair, was jailed for three years by Lewes Crown Court in November last year after pleading guilty to attempted murder.

The 69-year-old attacked his wife after becoming convinced they were about to be thrown out on to the street. He thought she would be "better off dead".

The couple had been married for 48 years when they went to bed in their council flat in Brighton on April 24 last year. Tugwell tried to kill his wife by grabbing her by the throat.

She managed to escape and ran to the bathroom, where she locked herself in and used a mobile phone to contact her daughter and raise the alarm.

Judges sitting at London's Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday heard Tugwell suffered from polio aged two and tuberculosis in his 20s, as well as having to contend with severe mental illness and an arthritic spine which has confined him to a wheelchair.

He has also suffered a stroke and heart attack in recent months.

Mr Justice Forbes, sitting with Judge Findlay Baker, QC, described the attack as a "a very sad and unusual case" and agreed to cut Tugwell's sentence to allow him to go free from today.

Mr Justice Forbes said: "The sentencing judge gave too much significance to the fact Tugwell said he was determined to kill his wife, when in fact she had not taken the attempt seriously.

"The original sentence was too long."

The couple's marriage collapsed after the attack and it is expected Tugwell will move into a new address in Hove following his release.