mercy and compassion
London : An Indian-origin pharmacist on trial for the murder of his elderly father by injecting him with a lethal dose of morphine has been freed by a UK judge, who ruled that he had acted out of “mercy and pure compassion”. Bipin Desai had denied the murder charge but admitted to assisting his 85-year-old father Dhirajlal Desai commit suicide at their home in Surrey, south-east England, because he had been depressed and wanted to end his life.
“Your acts of assistance were acts of pure compassion and mercy. Your father had a solid and firm wish to die. Being assisted to die would be fulfilling his wish of going to heaven to see his wife and being put out of his misery,” Justice Green told Desai during a sentencing hearing at Guildford Crown Court on Friday. The court heard how Desai’s father had begged daily for help in ending his life after his wife and dog died. Finally, the 59-year-old pharmacist put morphine stolen from his pharmacy into his father’s smoothie in August 2015. Then he gave his father the drink and kissed him goodnight and goodbye and later injected insulin to speed up the fatal dose.
“We have a man who wanted to die, not because he was terribly ill but, sadly, because he had just had
enough of life,” Desai’s defence lawyer told the court. Justice Green directed the jury to bring in a not-guilty verdict and handed Desai a nine-month suspended sentence for his assisted suicide plea, which means he would not have to spend any time behind bars as long as he does not breach the court’s conditions.
A letter to the judge written by Desai’s wife Dipti was read out in court by their lawyer, which explained that her husband had also tried to kill himself on several occasions. “Since August 2015 our lives have been turned completely upside down and have never been the same for any of us,” she wrote. One of their two sons, Samir, told the court, “My dad is the best person I know. He was left with an impossible choice and chose the road which gave my grandfather peace”.
Desai had pleaded guilty to two counts of theft relating to stealing the two drugs, morphine and insulin, from his workplace of Vaughan James Chemist in Farnham but the judge ruled those as trivial. “The thefts are trivial and only form part of the fabric of the wider case. The owner of the pharmacy said in his evidence that you were an honest, respectful and decent man,” the judge noted. After the verdict, Bipin Desai said he now wants to properly grieve for his father. “The past two years have been a time of immense stress for our family and it is a huge relief this ordeal is over,” he said.