This is a very sad case. Kay Gilderdale’s 31-year-old daughter Lynn was seriously ill and wanted to end her own life. Her mother supported this decision and provided the means (morphine). When this was apparently not working, she herself injected air with the intention of killing her. Lynn actually died of the morphine overdose, but her mother’s intention was to kill her with the air.
I wasn’t there, and couldn’t begin to judge the rights and wrongs of whether a mother should be helping her daughter to die but I’m sure she had good reasons. These were clearly exceptional circumstances, before and after the jury decided to acquit her.
However, the judge, Mr Justice Bean, questioned the decision to prosecute her for attempted murder in the first place and now the newspapers and politicians are jumping on the band wagon.
I think we need a reality check here.
When someone deliberately kills someone else, or tries to, that’s murder. It’s not for newspapers or politicians to decide. When a murder is committed we have a long-established system where a jury (not judge) decides what should be done about it. On the face of it, the jury has come to a sensible decision; the system works and we shouldn’t be messing with it. All murders should be prosecuted and only a jury should decide if there’s any mitigating justification – not politicians, newspapers or journalists.
Yes, it’s been tough on Mrs Gilderdale and I have every sympathy for her. Perhaps the trial could have been hurried up, to reduce her ordeal. But this doesn’t mean we should be messing with trial-by-jury when someone’s been killed as only a jury should be deciding where to draw the line.