A man has been hailed as a “hero” by his family after he shot dead his dad when he begged him to end his cancer pain.
Colin Stratton, 80, asked his devoted son Glenn Stratton, 53, to “do him a favour” and end his life at his house in Castlemaine in Australia.
Glenn faced the Bendigo Supreme Court today after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting the suicide of his dad.
Colin and his late wife, Sue, had spoken with doctors several times about the state of Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying programme, Daily Mail Australia reports.
The scheme means terminally-ill adults with intolerable pain and with less than six months to live – or 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases – and who meet 68 safeguards can ask the doctor for help in dying.
But Colin was considered ineligible for the programme despite suffering from terminal cancer.
He soon realised his wish to die with a “peaceful pill” and “a cuppa” would not happen and he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Colin reportedly decided “today’s my day” after doctors repeatedly refused to give him medication so he could die on his own terms.
He phoned his son Glenn and asked him for a “favour” – to shoot him dead.
He reportedly said at the time: “Don’t make me make a bloody mess of it, I can’t do it myself.”
The father and son said their goodbyes before Glenn ended his dad’s life.
Colin’s daughter Donna, arrived home a short time later to find her brother sobbing in the backyard.
She told the court he had “sacrificed himself” to give his father the dignified, painless “end he deserved”, the Herald Sun reports.
Donna said her dad’s cancer battle had “robbed him of the things he loved in life”.
She said her brother had been “punished enough” by missing the funeral when he was initially charged with murder.
Glenn’s brother, Searle, said his dad was his hero – but the honour was now with his brother after he “sacrificed his freedom in the greatest act of love”.
Glenn will be sentenced on December 9.
Assisted suicide – the law
Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in the UK.
Euthanasia, sometimes known as mercy killing, is the practice of intentionally ending someone’s life to relieve their pain and suffering, while assisted suicide involves the person wishing to die taking an active role in ending their own life.
Euthanasia carries a maximum penalty of life in jail, and assisted suicide 14 years.
The only exception is “passive euthanasia”, which is where treatment that might extend someone’s life is withdrawn – such as a life machine being turned off.
The only alternatives for terminally ill patients in the UK are hospice care or refusing treatment, which mentally capable patients have the right to do.
Patients can give an “advance decision” to refuse treatment or opt for terminal sedation, which means they will be kept unconscious as death approaches.
As a result, some terminally ill people decide to travel abroad to die to clinics such as Dignitas in Switzerland.