Kay Gilderdale, a 55 year-old-woman, has been cleared of attempted murder after admitting to assisting the suicide of her daughter after a week-long trial. The jury of six men and six women took less than two hours to return their unanimous verdict.
Lynn Gilderdale, 31, was said to have suffered with ME for 17 years after contracting a virus aged 14. This left her severely ill and bedridden at her home in East Sussex, with her mother providing 24 hour care. She communicated using sign language, went through the menopause aged 20, and lost half her bone density from osteoporosis. She was fed through a naso-gastric tube and daily administered around 210mg morphine via a syringe driver to help manage her pain.
In December 2008 she persuaded her mother to help her die after saying that her 'body was broken': 'I want the pain to go - I don't want to go on'. Her mother provided Lynn with double her normal daily dose of morphine which her daughter administered herself. Lynn later awoke distressed at which point her mother administered a mixture of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets, as well as injecting three boluses of air to cause embolism.
Mrs Gilderdale was given a twelve month conditional discharge; the maximum sentence for assisted suicide is 14 years. The case sits against the backdrop of the newly published final guidelines on the situations in which someone would be prosecuted for assisting suicide.