Death confession got out of hand, says broadcaster Ray Gosling

A BBC presenter accused of wasting police time over claims that he killed a former lover dying of Aids admitted today that his apparent confession "got out of hand".

Ray Gosling, 70, could be jailed for up to six months after prosecutors said they believe he lied during a documentary on death and dying.

The veteran broadcaster and gay rights campaigner recorded a programme in February in which he claimed to have smothered a friend as he lay dying in hospital.

Speaking after being summonsed by police in Nottingham today, Gosling apologised but would not be drawn on whether he was telling the truth or not.

He could now face the bizarre courtroom situation of defending his actions by insisting he did murder the man.

In separate comments, his solicitor, Digby Johnson, said Gosling was the "author of his own misfortune" and he was glad "nobody has been killed".

Gosling said: "I'm sorry if the police think they wasted their time.

"It was a small item on a regional TV programme Inside Out, in my country, the East Midlands, to my people, with whom I have had an intimate relationship.

"It got out of hand that winter evening.

"I had had a week or two talking to people who had told me of the pacts they had had - some fulfilled with wives, lovers, husbands, who were dying in pain and some told me of pacts unfulfilled.

"I did not expect it to cause this fuss, I'm not joining any cause."

Gosling said his confession was a "moment" with an intimate audience on an intimate programme.

He added: "I know what some people say, that I said what I did for publicity to promote a book I'm writing. That is absolutely not true, I haven't finished the book yet.

"Some people say I did it to revive a dying career. I didn't.

"I said it out of my heart, out of my feeling for people who had told me their intimate private stories and it got out of hand and I'm sorry."

Gosling will appear before magistrates in Nottingham next month, accused of wasting police time.

The decision follows a lengthy police inquiry during which he was interviewed several times on suspicion of murder.

Gosling apparently confessed during BBC East Midlands' Inside Out programme and during news interviews the next day.

In the programme, Gosling said he smothered his partner because he was "in terrible, terrible pain".

In the shock confession in the 30-minute show about death, Gosling broke down, saying: "I killed someone once. He was a young chap, he'd been my lover and he got Aids.

"In a hospital one hot afternoon, the doctor said 'There's nothing we can do', and he was in terrible, terrible pain.

"I said to the doctor 'Leave me just for a bit', and he went away. I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead.

"The doctor came back and I said 'He's gone'. Nothing more was ever said."

Speaking at the time, Gosling said he was not "making a cause" of assisted dying but said there was a case for changing the law.

His solicitor, Mr Johnson, said: "We are delighted that nobody has been killed, secondly that he has not been charged with murder and thirdly that the pressure of the uncertainty has come to an end.

"When all is said and done, when you watch him walk, he is not in the best of health and, however much he may be the author of his own misfortune, he certainly hasn't benefited from this.

"He is desperately sorry for all the waste and fuss he has caused. The police allege that he got carried away and made this up and they have spent a lot of time and money disproving this."

Asked whether he was critical of the BBC for running the programme, Mr Johnson added: "He (Gosling) doesn't have any criticism of the way he was treated by the BBC.

"We live in times when all sorts of rubbish gets broadcast. If somebody is saying something they know to be true, would you doubt him?

"Are you going to check every comma? Certainly it was a central fact. They (the BBC) obviously made the wrong decision but they made the decision that what he said was reliable enough to broadcast. We all get it wrong sometimes. How much diligence they (showed) is a moot point."

Helen Allen, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The police established that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving that Mr Gosling's confession was false and asked the CPS to consider whether he should be prosecuted for wasting police time, given the amount of work they had to carry out to establish what had happened.

"After careful consideration of all the evidence I decided that Mr Gosling should be prosecuted for wasting police time and advised the police to obtain a summons to that effect."

:: Gosling will appear before Nottingham magistrates on September 14.