DAA News Network

UK: Mother jailed for murdering disabled son

Posted 26/1-10 at 19.20

Frances Inglis was jailed for life, with a minimum term of nine years, after being found guilty of murder for giving a lethal injection of heroin to her brain-damaged 22-year-old son Thomas.

Despite her claim that she wanted to put her son out of his misery, the judge told the jury that no one had the right to take the law into their own hands.

Although doctors had told her that Tom had a good chance of making a recovery, Mrs. Inglis refused to believe them. In 2007 she had tried to kill him, but had been stopped. Her second attempt in November 2008 succeeded.

Cries of "shame on you" were directed at the jury from the public gallery as the verdicts were read out.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/mercy-killing-mother-is-jailed-for-life-1873767

http://disabilitymatters.blogspot.com/search/label/Frances%20Inglis ">

Editorial comment: While there has not been universal support for what Frances Inglis did, much of the mainstream media has questioned the decisions of the judge and jury. For example, the Daily Express(1) ran a comment entitled, "Mercy Killing isn't murder" and called for the Lord Chief Justice to put right, ‘...this cruel example of blind justice.' At the other end of the political spectrum, the Mirror called Frances Inglis, "Mother Courage"(2) and two comments in the Guardian made similar points in favour of Inglis. (3&4)The paper's editorial was more equivocal, saying her conviction was correct under the law, but that the law needs to be changed.(5) Alasdair Palmer's comment in The Daily Telegraph (6) stands out for at least understanding the issues at stake. He writes: "...the law cannot license the killing of people by relatives or friends simply because they think their sick relatives will be better off dead. That is murder by any standard, and no decent society can permit murder or allow it to go unpunished."

Nonetheless, don't sleep too comfortably in your bed tonight. Palmer's views are in a minority. Secondly, this case will undoubtedly rekindle the unseemly debate about when it is all right to murder disabled and elderly people. Finally, and to highlight the previous point, a few days after the Inglis conviction, a mother who helped her disabled daughter to commit suicide was found not guilty of attempted murder.(7) This verdict was universally supported by the British media. It adds to the growing clamour to legalise assisted suicide. That, in turn, adds to the social questioning as to the value of our lives.

What other group of people have to endure such pressure and such questions about the most basic of all human rights, the right to life?

  1. http://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/153820/Mercy-killing-isn-t-murder
  2. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/columnists/phillips/2010/01/23/don-t-punish-this-mother-courage-115875-21988352/
  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/21/life-sentence-makes-no-sense
  4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree
  5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/25/criminal-justice-edlington-francis-inglis
  6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/7062741/A-mercy-killing-without-consent-is-nothing-but-murder.html
  7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/25/mercy-killing-kay-gilderdale-cleared

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