A BBC presenter who claimed on TV to have killed his terminally ill gay lover is being questioned by police for a second day, but some have doubted his “vague tale”.
Watch Ray Gosling’s confession
Police arrested Ray Gosling yesterday on suspicion of murder following his confession that years ago he used a pillow to smother his gay lover, who was in hospital dying from AIDS.
The Independent newspaper says the story should alarm the pro-euthanasia lobby, conjuring up “an image of an arbitrary action by a non-relative, where no wish to hasten death by the patient had been recorded.”
Pro-lifers criticised BBC producers who privately knew about the confession for two months but failed to notify the police.
However, some newspaper commentators have questioned whether Mr Gosling has made up the story.
And Paul Watson, a former colleague of Mr Gosling, also cast doubt on his claims. He said: “I think it is desperate seeking of attention. He is a lovely man, but he does know how to manipulate the media.”
Mr Gosling’s solicitor, Digby Johnson, was asked by news reporters whether his client had fabricated the story.
Mr Johnson answered: “It has been said and it is something about which there has been some speculation.”
He confirmed that Mr Gosling has refused to name his alleged victim to the police.
Nottinghamshire Police said Mr Gosling remained in custody and confirmed there had been no charges.
Speaking outside Oxclose Lane police station Mr Gosling’s solicitor said: “there are genuine ongoing police inquiries.
“They are interviewing people, looking at documentation and what comes out of those inquiries they will want to put to him.”
A long-standing friend of Mr Gosling told The Daily Telegraph that he was sure the BBC man had helped a lover to die.
But The Telegraph’s George Pitcher doesn’t believe the Gosling confession and the Daily Mail’s Geoffrey Levy asks whether the story is all it seems.
George Pitcher said: “His story just doesn’t ring true,” adding, “Gosling sounded like he was making bits of it up as he went along, saying ‘doctors are doing this all the time’ and inventing this parallel universe in which ‘doctors leave some extra morphine in the drawer’. No they don’t, Ray.”
He also says “Gosling has usefully focussed attention on the idea that doctors bring a patient’s life forward with the administration of morphine.
“The excellent Dr Victoria Wheatley was on the BBC’s Today programme, to tell an astonished Evan Davies who was unable to maintain the BBC’s pro-euthanasia line, that this allegation is nonsense.
“She calmly listed three myths: That death is a necessarily horrendous process; that because it’s horrendous, drugs should be used to end life prematurely and that doctors believe these things and euthanise accordingly.
“In fact, Dr Wheatley said, responsible use of end-of-life medication doesn’t so much shorten life as mean that patients tend to live longer and die more peaceful deaths.”
In an editorial leader, The Independent newspaper said: “this vague tale was not a good way for Mr Gosling to promote reform of Britain’s euthanasia laws.
“He claims to have suffocated his dying lover with a pillow in a hospital and that ‘doctors do this all the time’. Yet there is no evidence that medical staff routinely smother terminally ill patients.
“And even the common belief that doctors issue massive doses of morphine to end the lives of suffering patients appears to be something of a myth.
The editorial continued: “Mr Gosling’s testimony conjured up an image of an arbitrary action by a non-relative, where no wish to hasten death by the patient had been recorded. It was a scene to provoke alarm among even the most ardent advocates of the ‘right to die’.”
Assisted suicide is currently illegal in the UK but following judicial activism the Director of Public Prosecutions has been forced to publish interim guidelines on the factors to be considered when weighing up a prosecution.