A husband who helped his disabled wife commit suicide was not prosecuted, despite there being “sufficient evidence” against him.
An inquest has heard how Michael Bateman put a bag over his wife’s head and inserted a gas which slowly killed the 62-year-old in 2009. He filmed her death to prove that it wasn’t murder.
Last year the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute the case, claiming that it was not in the “public interest”, and now an inquest has recorded a verdict of suicide.
Margaret Bateman’s death prompted an investigation by West Yorkshire Police.
Detective Superintendent Sukhbir Singh said there was “clearly sufficient evidence” for a charge of aiding and abetting a suicide.
And recording the verdict Professor Paul Marks, deputy coroner for Huddersfield, said: “Mrs Bateman expressed her wish to take her own life on a number of occasions. She was aided and abetted to commit suicide by a third party.”
Speaking last year Bryan Boulter, reviewing lawyer for the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “I concluded that a prosecution would not be in the public interest because Mrs Bateman, who had suffered from chronic pain for decades, had a clear and settled wish to commit suicide.
“Interviews with Mr Bateman and the couple’s sons supported this.”
Mrs Bateman had been suffering pain for decades and ten years before her death she was diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic pain in the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Her condition got worse after she fell from a chair designed to assist her in 2007.
Last year Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, issued guidance indicating that prosecutions for assisted suicide would be unlikely if the killer was “wholly motivated by compassion”, but that prosecutions would be made in other circumstances.
In June it was revealed that a retired GP who helped a cancer stricken man kill himself would not face trial, despite there being enough evidence to “provide a realistic” prospect of conviction.
And earlier in the year Dr Michael Irwin had written to Mr Starmer, and admitted helping terminally ill Raymond Cutkelvin commit suicide at the Dignitas facility in Switzerland.
Mr Starmer, drawing on his assisted suicide prosecution guidelines, announced that Dr Irwin wouldn’t stand trial because it was “highly unlikely” that a court would jail a 79-year-old man.
And last March it was revealed that the son of renowned conductor Sir Edward Downes, who helped his parents commit suicide, would not be prosecuted.
Mr Starmer revealed that Caractacus Downes would not be prosecuted despite there being sufficient evidence, claiming that a prosecution would not be in the public interest.