Mother loses appeal over mercy killing

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The Independent Online

A mother who claims she acted out of compassion when she ended her son's life with a lethal injection must serve five years in prison because the law does not recognise mercy killing, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Frances Inlgis, 58, from Dagenham, east London, failed in her bid to overturn a conviction for murder after injecting her brain-damaged son Tom, 22, with a fatal dose of heroin in 2008 after he was left in a vegetative state following an accident.

But three judges yesterday reduced the minimum term before she can apply for parole from nine years to five. Inglis, whose family have stood by her, was found guilty at the Old Bailey in January of murder and of attempted murder, in respect of an earlier attempt to end her son's life.

The court heard that Tom had suffered severe head injuries when he fell out of a moving ambulance in July 2007. Delivering the court's ruling, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said: "How the problems of mercy killing, euthanasia, and assisting suicide should be addressed must be decided by Parliament, which, for this purpose at any rate, should be reflective of the conscience of the nation. In this appeal we are constrained to apply the law as we find it to be. We cannot amend it, or ignore it."