Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

BBC journalist arrested in ex-lover's death Add to ...

British police on Wednesday arrested a BBC journalist on suspicion of murder after he admitted killing a former lover who was dying from AIDS.

Broadcaster and gay rights campaigner Ray Gosling, 70, said he smothered an ex-boyfriend with a pillow in hospital to fulfill a pact they had made in case the pain got too severe.

More Related to this Story

"We had this agreement. If it got like that, I would end his life. And that's what I did," he told the BBC. "The doctors said there's nothing we can do and he was in terrible, terrible pain. I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead."

Mr. Gosling said he would not name his lover nor say when the incident took place. Police said they only found out about the case after Mr. Gosling's comments were broadcast on Monday.

"Nottinghamshire police have this morning arrested a 70-year-old Nottingham man on suspicion of murder following comments on the BBC's 'Inside Out' programme on Monday evening," a police spokeswoman said.

Mr. Gosling's comments have stoked the legal and moral debate over assisted suicide.

Despite repeated challenges in the courts, assisted suicide remains illegal in Britain and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. Dozens of terminally ill Britons have gone to die in clinics in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal and where family or friends who help them die are not prosecuted.

Britain's chief public prosecutor Keir Starmer issued interim guidelines last year on whether to bring charges against people who help their loved ones to die. He is due to publish his final guidance soon.

The campaign group Care Not Killing, which opposes assisted suicide, said it was "bizarre and highly irresponsible" for the BBC to broadcast Mr. Gosling's comments shortly before Mr. Starmer is due to publish his guidelines.

"The present law ... exists because there are people who are prepared to kill for all kinds of motives - to inherit, to be rid of an emotional or care burden and, occasionally, for what they may consider to be compassionate motives," it said.

The BBC said it would co-operate with the police and Mr. Gosling insisted he had no regrets about what he did.

"If he was looking down on me now he would be proud," he said. "Sometimes you have to do brave things and say ... bugger the law."

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories