The appellant was mother of the victim. He had suffered catastrophic injuries. She had tried to end his life in a ‘mercy killing’, but was discovered, charged with attempted murder, and released on bail. On a second occasion she injected him with a lethal dose of heroin. She now appealed against conviction saying her defence of provocation had been wrongly withdrawn. She had anticipated that his life would otherwise be ended painfully by the withdrawal of treatment and hydration.
Held: The law of murder does not distinguish between murder committed for malevolent reasons and murder motivated by familial love. Subject to well established partial defences, like provocation or diminished responsibility, mercy killing is murder. Nor does it recognise an assessment that the victim was ‘already dead in all but a small physical degree’. The case pleaded did not establish a defence. Nevertheless, the court need not, in this exceptional case, take heed of the factors listed in schedule 21 of the 2003 Act to impose the minimum recommendation. The minimum term was reduced to 5 years.
 EWCA Crim 2637,  2 Cr App R (S) 13
Homicide Act 1957 3, Criminal Justice Act 2003
England and Wales
Cited – Nicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Crime, Criminal Sentencing
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.425949