Pensioner shoots ill wife in hospital in 'suicide pact'
An 84-year-old Frenchman who reportedly could not bear the anguish of losing his terminally-ill wife, shot her dead in her hospital bed before turning the weapon on himself, in an apparent suicide pact.
In a case that will reignite the euthanasia debate in France, the man and his 82-year-old spouse had tried and failed to commit suicide a fortnight before their deaths at the Ambroise-Pare hospital, in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.
The octogenarian, who has not been named, returned to the hospital on Sunday morning with a rifle and shot his wife, who was suffering from terminal cancer, and himself dead.
"The medical team heard a noise about 11.30am and then found the two bodies," said Professor Laurent Teillet, the head of the hospital's geriatric service.
No suicide note was found, but the couple appeared to be determined to end their lives, hospital staff said.
They were both admitted to the same hospital a fortnight ago after the failed suicide attempt at their home in which they had swallowed large quantities of prescription drugs.
The husband was later released, but had returned every day to visit his dying wife.
The deaths come almost exactly a year after an octogenarian couple died hand in hand in a double suicide in a smart Paris hotel, leaving a letter next to their bed calling for legalised euthanasia. (© Daily Telegraph, London)