Thirsk woman sentenced to life for ‘mercy killing’


Heather Davidson, of Sowerby, Thirsk, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of nine years at Teesside Crown court today after murdering her terminally ill friend, who was a devout Christian and ethically opposed to euthanasia.

CPS Yorkshire and Humberside's Principal Crown Advocate Jonathan Sharp said: "David Paterson was a private man who had led a long, happy and fulfilled life. He was a devout Christian with strong ethical objections to euthanasia.

"Heather Davidson murdered Mr Paterson by smothering him with a pillow. She took it upon herself to act unilaterally to end his life. Mr Paterson had previously firmly expressed his opposition to any intervention in the dying process.

"As a fellow church-goer Davidson would have been well aware that her actions went against Mr Paterson's most profound beliefs. Equally, her actions went against his family's deepest wishes. Her decision to end his life deprived Mr Paterson of what he and his family most wanted - a natural, private and dignified death. Her actions also denied his close family of being able to say their final farewells and to grieve privately.

"I hope the sentence imposed today will enable Mr Paterson's family to begin to come to terms with the tragic circumstances of his death. I am sure they would want him to be remembered by how he lived his life, not for how it ended."