A man who helped his wife suffocate herself will not be prosecuted for assisting her suicide, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has revealed.
However, the decision has increased concern among pro-life groups who fear that assisted suicide is being legalised by the back door.
Michael Bateman helped his wife, who suffered from chronic pain due to an undiagnosed condition, commit suicide using a plastic bag and helium gas.
But yesterday the CPS revealed that Mr Bateman would not be prosecuted because his actions were “wholly motivated by compassion”.
The decision not to prosecute Mr Bateman was taken by CPS Special Crime Division lawyer Bryan Boulter, and confirmed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr Boulter 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.”
But Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, cautioned: “I am not questioning the honesty of this family but the CPS is in this case relying on their evidence that she had a settled wish to die.
“It is also the case that people who appear to have a settled wish to die can change their minds.
“We are becoming a society where the assessment of your quality of life hinges on what you can do, rather than respect for life itself.”
A spokesman for Care Not Killing, a pro-life campaign group, said: “We have concerns that the compassion test laid down by the DPP could be used as a backdoor legalisation of euthanasia and we will be looking at every case very closely.”
Earlier this year Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, unveiled new guidelines outlining when people are likely to be prosecuted for assisting a suicide.
The guidelines indicated that those who were “wholly motivated by compassion” were unlikely to face a prosecution.
Earlier this year it was revealed that the son of renowned conductor, Sir Edward Downes, would not face charges for helping his parents commit suicide.
The Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that Caractacus Downes would not be prosecuted despite there being sufficient evidence against him.
Mr Starmer, who claimed a prosecution wouldn’t be in the public interest, defended his decision, saying: “The evidence and information available indicates that Mr Downes was wholly motivated by compassion.”