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British TV presenter arrested over mercy killing of lover
Wed, Feb 17, 2010
AFP

LONDON - A veteran British broadcaster was arrested on suspicion of murder Wednesday after admitting he smothered to death an ex-lover who had AIDS, police said Wednesday.

Ray Gosling made the confession in a television programme aired this week, saying he killed the unnamed man as he lay seriously ill in hospital "in the early period of AIDS" - likely to be during the 1980s.

A spokeswoman for Nottinghamshire Police in central England, said officers "this morning arrested a 70-year-old Nottingham man on suspicion of murder following comments on the BBC's Inside Out programme on Monday evening."

The 70-year-old's confession comes amid debate in Britain about so-called mercy killings, or whether people with terminal illnesses be allowed to commit assisted suicide.

In the television programme, on the issue of assisted suicide, Gosling told how he took his lover's life.

"In a hospital one hot afternoon, the doctor said, 'There's nothing we can do', and he was in terrible, terrible pain," he said. "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."

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

These said that while there were some factors which could weigh against the chances of someone being prosecuted, such as the victim asking for help, assisted suicide was still a criminal offence.

But campaigners want more clarity, although those opposed to assisted suicide say changing the law could put seriously ill people in a vulnerable position.

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.

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