A 57 year-old mother was given a life sentence in January after killing her son as an 'act of mercy'. Frances Inglis from Dagenham, Essex, was found guilty of murder after injecting heroin into the thighs and arms of her 22 year-old son, Thomas Inglis.
Mr Inglis had long-standing brain damage after falling from an ambulance in July 2007. His mother first attempted to kill him with heroin a month after the accident, but he was successfully resuscitated and moved to a rehabilitation centre in Hertfordshire. Mrs Inglis was placed on bail for attempted murder and subsequently denied access to visit her son. 14 months later, however, Mrs Inglis visited her son using her sister's name and killed him with an injection of heroin. When nurses tried to enter Mr Inglis' room, the door was barricaded shut using oxygen cylinders. Mrs Inglis denied the charge of murder, stating that ending her son's life was an act of mercy. She considered that Tom would have wanted to die rather than continue living in such a condition, and that injecting heroin was the best way to allow her son a painless and peaceful death.
Judge Brian Barker told the court that 'mercy killing' is not a concept recognised in law – 'it is still killing'. The jury ruled that Mrs Inglis was guilty of murder with a majority of ten to two. She will serve a minimum sentence of nine years.