Judges overturn sentence for man who killed his wife

A man who killed his wife by smothering her with a pillow has been freed from prison, prompting a pro-life campaigner to warn against crossing “absolute moral boundaries”.

Last year, Ian Gordon was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for killing his wife Patricia. The couple made a ‘death pact’ after Patricia was diagnosed with terminal cancer and began to suffer constant pain.

Appeal Court judges in Edinburgh overturned the earlier ruling, admonishing Mr Gordon for culpable homicide and describing his actions as ‘loving’.

‘Never right’

Dr Peter Saunders, CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, told The Christian Institute that the case underlines “how important it is to provide adequate support to the families of those who are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses”.

“It is important to temper justice with mercy and understand the pressure that long time carers feel under but deliberately taking the life of a sick person, even if motivated by compassion, is never right and should not be described as loving. Real love does not cross absolute moral boundaries.”

Dr Saunders added that “the laws against homicide and euthanasia are clear and right” and do not need changing.

‘Exceptional case’

Arguing in Mr Gordon’s defence, the Dean of Faculty Gordon Jackson QC, claimed there was “absolutely no reason” why Mr Gordon should be in jail.

Lord Brodie agreed and told the Court of Criminal Appeal that murder “is always a matter of the utmost seriousness”, but this was “an exceptional case”.

The judges have said they will further explain their reasons for the decision at a later date.

In 2015, MSPs voted by 82 votes to 36 against the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill. The Bill sought to allow people as young as 16 to get help to kill themselves.

‘Serious crime’

Last year, critics raised the alarm after a High Court judge in London only handed down a nine-month suspended sentence to a man who killed his father with a lethal combination of morphine and insulin.

Mr Justice Green claimed that pharmacist Bipin Desai was “wrongfully accused” of murder, because his father had “a solid and firm wish to die”.

But Dr Anthony McCarthy, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said it was a “shocking” decision: “Are we now to believe that the killing of an innocent and vulnerable human being who is ‘tired of life’ is not to be regarded as a serious crime?”

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