British TV presenter admits to mercy killing of lover

LONDON: A veteran British television and radio presenter is

being investigated by police today after he admitted smothering to death an ex-lover who had AIDS several decades ago.

Ray Gosling, known for his BBC documentaries on social issues, said he carried out the mercy killing of the unnamed man as he lay seriously ill in hospital in “the early period of AIDS” — likely to be during the 1980s.

The 70-year-old’s confession comes amid debate in Britain about whether people with terminal illnesses be allowed to commit assisted suicide. Earlier this month, author Terry Pratchett became the latest public figure to speak out, urging the creation of special panels where seriously ill people could make the case for their right to die legally. Pratchett himself has Alzheimer’s disease.

Gosling’s revelation came in a BBC programme he was making about the issue. Local police in Nottinghamshire, central England, say they are now looking

into the matter.

“In a hospital one hot afternoon, the doctor said, ‘There’s nothing we can do’, and he was in terrible, terrible pain,” he said on the show, broadcast yesterday.

“I said to the doctor, ‘Leave me just for a bit’ and he went away. “I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead.” Gosling told BBC radio in an emotional interview today that he killed his ex-lover after they had agreed “a pact”.

“We had this agreement that if it got like that I would end his life and that’s what I did,” he said. “Sometimes you have to do brave things and, to use Nottingham language, bugger the law.” Helping someone to commit assisted suicide is against the law in Britain and can be punished with a jail term of up to 14 years.

Last year, the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, Keir Starmer, published interim guidelines on when assisted suicide cases should be prosecuted.