Sunday 11 December 2016

Suicide accused denied knowingly buying lethal drugs

Conor Gallagher

Published 23/04/2015 | 02:30

Gail O’Rorke at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Gail O’Rorke at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A woman accused of helping her friend take her own life denied to gardaí that she knowingly paid for lethal drugs.

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Gail O'Rorke said that she had a "gut feeling something was going to happen" the day before Bernadette Forde's suicide - but that she couldn't do anything to stop it.

"I'm glad she did what she had to do and is at peace," she told gardai the day after the death. "I'm also glad she didn't tell me as I would have refused to help. I think this is a necessary evil for her to do."

Ms Forde (51), a former human resources manager with Guinness, took her own life in June 2011 using the drug pentobarbital, which she ordered online from Mexico.

The trial also heard that Ms O'Rorke was to inherit 30pc of the residue of Ms Forde's estate.

Ms Forde's solicitor Maurice O'Callaghan said he was completely satisfied there was no undue pressure regarding the will. He testified that Ms Forde instructed him that she was doing it because "Gail makes her life better".

Ms O'Rorke (43), a taxi driver from Kilclare Gardens, Tallaght, has pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting the suicide of Ms Forde by helping her to procure and administer a toxic substance between April 20 and June 6, 2011.

Suicide

She also denies attempting to aid and abet the suicide of Ms Forde by attempting to arrange travel to Zurich, Switzerland, for such purpose between March 10 and April 20, 2011, and that she procured the suicide of Ms Forde between June 4, and June 6, 2011, by making funeral arrangements for Ms Forde in advance of her death.

Gda Andrew Dermody said that in a statement taken the day after Ms Forde's death, Ms O'Rorke detailed how she had started as a cleaner for Ms Forde but developed "a bond." She said they would spend a lot of time together and have lunch two or three times a week.

The accused described how Ms Forde's MS was getting worse and was aggravated by a car crash in 2008 which hospitalised them both and left Ms Forde in a wheelchair.

She said Ms Forde was "angry but accepting" of her disease. "She had done a lot of research; she knew how disease would progress." She said Ms Forde began to talk about the euthanasia clinic, Dignitas. She "didn't want to end up in a home". "I supported her because it was something she wanted. I supported her on her decision," Ms O'Rorke said.

Ms O'Rorke also said she remembers sending €400 via Western Union to Mexico on behalf of Ms Forde in the weeks before her death. She said she never asked what this was for as Ms Forde was always shopping online and it was just one of many errands.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of six men and six women.

Irish Independent

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