Mother who killed her brain damaged son gets life term
The family of a mother who gave her brain-damaged son a lethal heroin injection last night demanded a change in the law on mercy killing as she was jailed for life.
They said they were standing by Frances Inglis (57) who tearfully told the Old Bailey that she killed 22-year-old son Tom to end his "living hell".
Inglis, of Dagenham, east London, was jailed for a minimum term of nine years after being found guilty of murder and attempted murder by a jury.
But outside court her older son Alex (26) said he and his family supported his mother "100pc" and called for a "complete rethink of existing laws".
He said: "All those who loved, and were close to Tom, have never seen this as murder, but as a loving and courageous act."
The court heard how Mr Inglis had suffered severe head injuries when he fell out of a moving ambulance in July 2007.
His mother, who worked as a carer for disabled children, first tried to end his life two months after the accident when he was being treated at Queens Hospital in Romford, Essex. His heart stopped for six minutes but he was revived.
She was charged with attempted murder before successfully trying again in November 2008, after barricading herself in her son's room at the Gardens nursing home in Hertfordshire.
Inglis gave an emotionally-charged account to jurors of how she had "no choice" but to end his life and had done it "with love".
But Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, directed them that no one had the "unfettered right" to take the law into their own hands.
Inglis, a slight figure in a green cardigan, sat quietly in the dock.
There were cries of "shame on you" as jurors returned the verdicts, each by a majority of 10-2, but the judge told them: "You could not have had a more difficult case."
Alex Inglis said: "What this case, and a number of others have exposed, is a need for a complete rethink of existing laws in regard to people that have been, and will be, in the same position as Tom."
The court heard Inglis was appalled to learn the only way her son's life could be ended lawfully was for nutrition to be removed.
Her son said: "How can it be legal to withhold food and water, which means a slow and painful death, yet illegal to end all suffering in a quick, calm and loving way? It's cruel, inhumane and illogical."
He added: "All of the family and Tom's girlfriend support my mum 100pc."
During the trial Inglis wept as she described her despair at the "horror, pain and tragedy" of her son's helpless condition.
"For Tom to live that living hell -- I couldn't leave my child like that," she told the Old Bailey.
She admitted ending his life but said: "I did it with love in my heart, for Tom, so I don't see it as murder."
Jurors heard how Inglis, seen as a "pillar of the community", was driven to scouring the streets looking for heroin after she decided her son would not have wanted to carry on living.
She refused to accept the encouraging prognosis of a consultant, who said he may one day recover enough to run his own business.
The distraught mother told the court: "I felt I would rather he go to heaven than to hell on earth. I know Tom would not want to live. He had lost his life."
Inglis thought her bedridden son was in "terrible pain" as he suffered fits of sweating and frothing at the mouth.
She wept in the witness box as she described the moment she killed him. "He was in bed. I told him that I loved him and I took the syringe and injected him in each thigh and in his arm and held him and told him I loved him, told him everything would be fine," she said.