I have already reported on the United Kingdom's functional legalization of assisted suicide. To recap briefly, prosecutorial "guidelines" broadly hint (without quite promising outright) that those who assist the suicides of certain disfavored classes of people, allegedly at the request of the victim, will not be prosecuted. And indeed these "guidelines" have played out exactly as predicted, including in their ambit not only procuring pills, etc., but also active killing. Michael Bateman suffocated and gassed his wife to death, allegedly at her request, and was not prosecuted.
And now, fffolks, it's time for the next step! Actor Stuart Mungall killed his wife, Joan, who suffered from Pick's Disease. This is evidently not in question. He deliberately smothered her to death with a pillow. Moreover, he doesn't even allege that she asked him to do so. Instead, he alleges (you can't make this stuff up) that he "saw it in her eyes" that she wanted to die. (The day before he killed her she told a nurse that she was "taking it all in [her] stride." I guess the nurse wasn't skilled in eye-reading.)
So the prosecution did prosecute. (Whoo-hoo!) However, the prosecution accepted Mungall's plea bargain to manslaughter (!) on grounds of diminished responsibility from the strain of caring for his wife! Is this starting to sound like satire is dead? "Well, you see, your Honor, it was just such a strain taking care of her, and then I saw it in her eyes that she wanted to die, so I smothered her." The poor, stressed fellow smiled at his supporters and got a thumbs-up sign from them in the courtroom after the judge decided to sentence him to no jail time.
The news story is a bit confusing. It quotes, apparently from the trial, the "Recorder of London" as saying to Mungall that the court has a responsibility to show that "you can't take the life of another as you did." Was this an argument against the judge's suspending the sentence? Was it simply a defense of there having been any prosecution at all? The story doesn't say. In any event, the court certainly didn't even begin to show anybody that you can't take the life of another. To the contrary, Mungall's non-sentence makes fifty lashes with a wet noodle look like cruel and unusual punishment. For that matter, the Recorder of London prefaced his "get tough" bit about "showing that you can't take the life of another" with this gooey slab of glory, laud, and honor: "You have had a praiseworthy life...earning the plaudits of all who knew you, who recognise the devotion you showed your wife in the care you showed her." Um, yeah. Thanks, but no thanks for that kind of devotion and care.
Mungall is happy now. He's off scot free, and Joan? Well, Mungall's solicitor says that the killer is relieved that she is now "at peace and without pain." R.I.P.
Don't be disabled in England. It's open season.