November 16, 2010

Frances Inglis: Mother Who Killed Brain-Damaged Son Is Told 'Mercy Killing Is Murder'!

The Telegraph UK
written by Caroline Gammell
Friday November 12, 2010

A woman who murdered her brain-damaged son lost her appeal against conviction yesterday after the Court of Appeal ruled that “mercy killing is murder”.

Frances Inglis was convicted in January this year for murdering her son Thomas by injecting him with a lethal dose of heroin in November 2008.

She had tried and failed to kill him in September 2007, two months after an accident which left him brain damaged.

In her appeal at the High Court, her lawyers tried to argue that the defence of provocation should have been allowed at her trial.

Mrs Inglis, 58, from Dagenham in east London, believed that she was acting in the best interests of her son and did not him to suffer any further.

However, Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, sitting with Mr Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Holroyde ruled that did not detract from the fact that she intentionally killed him.

“The law of murder does not distinguish between murder committed for malevolent reasons and murder motivated by familial love. Mercy killing is murder.

“Until Parliament decides otherwise, the law recognises a distinction between the withdrawal of treatment supporting life, which may be lawful and the active termination of life, which is unlawful.”

Describing the case “one of the most difficult sentencing decisions faced in this court,” they reduced her minimum prison term from nine to five years.

In their ruling, Lord Judge said that Mrs Inglis – who was not in court - not only killed her son without considering the rest of the family, her initial failed attempt on his life made his condition worse.

“The appellant’s actions were deliberate and premeditated, and her compulsive objective was indeed to kill her son,” he said.

“She was motivated throughout by her personal, unremitting conviction that she should release him from the living hell his limited life had become…

“She tried to kill Thomas and did eventually kill him without a thought to the feelings of anyone else, including his father and brothers.”

He added: “Harsh as it is to have to say it, she had contributed to the very sorry condition from which, on the day of his death, Thomas was suffering.”

Thomas Inglis was 21 when he was hit on the head during a fight on July 7, 2007.

He was taken to hospital against his wishes and during the journey fell out of the back of the ambulance and suffered serious head injuries.

While in a coma, he was operated on and doctors said it was possible he could lead an independent life.

Lord Judge found that Mrs Inglis – who had a history of depression - “totally rejected” the optimism of the doctors and was convinced he was in a “cabbage state”.

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