A British woman found guilty of murdering her brain-damaged
son has lost her appeal after the court ruled that mercy killing is murder.
Frances Inglis was originally given a life sentence with a minimum term of nine
years, but the Appeals Court reduced that to five years.
After her son Thomas was seriously injured as a result of a
brawl in 2007, Ms Inglis tried to kill him with an injection of heroin.
However, he was revived and she was charged with attempted murder. While on
bail, she succeeded in killing her son.
While acknowledging that this was a tragic case, the Lord
Judge stated that “However
disabled Thomas might have been, a disabled life, even a life lived at the
extremes of disability, is not one jot less precious than the life of an
able-bodied person. “His life was protected by the law, and no one, not even
his mother, could lawfully step in and bring it to a premature conclusion.”
He added: "The latest statute to address the
problem of mercy killing, currently in force, expressly includes as mitigation
for the offence the offender's subjective belief that he or she was acting out
of mercy, but that belief and motivation, however genuine, does not and cannot
constitute any defence to the charge of murder.” Furthermore, he said,
"the law of murder does not distinguish between murder committed for
malevolent reasons and murder motivated by familial love".
This is believed to be the first British case of mercy
killing to reach the Court of Appeal. ~ Independent,
Nov 12; London
Telegraph, Nov 12