Mother gave lethal injection 'with love in my heart'

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A mother who gave her brain-damaged son a lethal heroin injection to end his suffering today told a jury: "I did it with love in my heart."

Frances Inglis told the Old Bailey she had "no choice" but to give her 22-year-old son a fatal overdose.

Mr Inglis was left in what his mother described as a "living hell" after suffering serious head injuries when he fell out of an ambulance in July 2007.

Today she told jurors how two months after the accident she gave him an overdose that stopped his heart.

He was revived and she was arrested but she went back and injected him with heroin again in November 2008, and he died.

Inglis, 57, of Dagenham, east London, denies murder and attempted murder.

She said: "I felt he lost his life when he came out of the ambulance. I felt that I was helping, releasing him.

"I don't see it as killing or murder. The definition of murder is to take someone's life with malice in your heart.

"I did it with love in my heart, for Tom, so I don't see it as murder.

"I knew what I was doing was against the law. I don't know what name they would call it but I knew that the law would say it was wrong.

"I believed it would have been Tom's choice to have been allowed to die rather than have the intervention to keep him alive."

She shook with sobs as she said: "I had no choice, I had no choice. I would have chosen anything else, I would have done anything else.

"It is not that I wanted to do it, I had to. I couldn't leave my son there.

"It is not an easy decision to make or something that anybody would want to do. I had no choice."

The court heard that it was suggested that her son's feeding might be withdrawn if it was decided it was no longer in his best interests to continue it.

But Inglis said that would be a "very very cruel, very very painful way" to die.

"The only, only thing I could do was what I decided to do," she said.

She said she could think of nothing else but her son and his pain and the "terror" she saw in his eyes.

Inglis told the jury her son still had "emotions, although he couldn't express them in words".

She said she made notes of the times her son was being looked after to make sure she would not be disturbed as she injected him.

"I obviously wanted to do it properly," she added.

The court heard that on the morning of the incident she laid out instructions at home for paying the bills and feeding the family dog, Max, knowing that she would be arrested.

She went to the Gardens nursing home in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, where her son was being treated.

"He was in bed. I told him that I loved him and I took the syringe and injected him in each thigh and in his arm and held him and told him I loved him, told him everything would be fine."

Inglis said she was with her son for half an hour before anyone came.

"I hoped he had died, he was very peaceful," she said.

She said she was "so scared" that he would be resuscitated and blocked the door with an oxygen cylinder.

Asked what had motivated her she said: "Just totally, totally, utterly concerned for Tom. For Tom to live that living hell - I couldn't leave my child like that.

"I just couldn't do it, and I could think of nothing else."

Inglis told the court she had started to research her son's condition on the internet within days of his accident.

She described begging staff at Queens Hospital in Romford, Essex, where he was first treated, to give him relief for his "terrible pain" and the "look of sheer horror" on his face as he suffered fits of sweating and frothing at the mouth.

Inglis, who said she used to visit her son twice a day, was asked by her barrister Sasha Wass QC about the "encouraging" prognosis described by consultant surgeon Ragu Vindlacheruvu.

He had suggested "that Tom would be running his own business, walking, talking, independent, totally opposed to what everyone else had said and what I had seen with my own eyes", said the defendant.

"All I saw was horror, pain and tragedy," Inglis said.

She added: "I knew I had to help him. I asked myself what Tom would want. He wouldn't have wanted to live like this.

"I asked myself what I would want. I would want someone to love me enough to help me die. That's why I thought heroin - a painless, peaceful death."

She told how she tried unsuccessfully to obtain the drug from a neighbour before looking elsewhere.

"I'd go to places where I thought maybe deals were made, like Barking station and outside the job centre. I tried to find out where the needle exchange places were," she told the court.

Inglis said she obtained needles and syringes from the hospital and researched on the internet to discover that two grammes of heroin would be a "lethal dose".

She waited a couple of days for her opportunity before giving the first injection in September 2007.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.