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Assisted suicide of Dr and Mrs Arnold

15/01/2014

Malcolm McHaffie, Deputy Head of CPS Special Crime Division said: "The CPS was asked to consider all the evidence in relation to the very sad deaths of Dr David Arnold and his wife Mrs Elizabeth Arnold, to determine whether their daughter Georgina Roberts should be charged with assisting their suicide.

"This case was carefully considered in accordance with the DPP's guidance for prosecutors in cases of encouraging and assisting suicide and we determined that while there was sufficient evidence that Georgina Roberts assisted the suicide of her parents, it would not be in the public interest to prosecute.

"In reaching this decision, in accordance with the DPP's guidance, very careful consideration was given to the illnesses suffered by both Dr and Mrs Arnold. The mental capacity of both victims was carefully considered, particularly that of Mrs Arnold, who had dementia. The evidence indicated she was aware of her condition and was clear about what she wanted to happen.

"The evidence also showed that Georgina Roberts' parents had clearly communicated their decision to her and that she was acting out of compassion. Mrs Roberts also reported her parents' suicides as soon as they had taken place. Having taken all the public interest factors set out in the DPP's guidelines into account, we therefore concluded that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute Georgina Roberts with assisted suicide.

"The CPS also considered whether Georgina Roberts should be charged with perverting the course of justice regarding a statement she made to the police shortly after her parents' death. We determined it would not be in the public interest to do so, as she subsequently admitted the statement was false and then provided police with a full account of her involvement."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.