An English doctor was convicted Saturday of attempting to murder a terminally ill patient in a landmark court case on mercy killing.
The jury, several overcome with emotion and weeping, finally reached an 11-1 verdict after more than eight hours of deliberations spread over two days.The judge said he would delay sentencing Nigel Cox, who lives in Winchester, southern England, until Monday.
Cox, 47, who had treated Lillian Boyes for 13 years, denied the charge of attempted murder. Boyes died in August last year after Cox gave her an injection of potassium chloride.
There was no argument between defense and prosecution about the facts of the case as Cox admitted administering the drug.
Disagreement centered on the doctor's primary intention, whether he intended to kill Boyes, who had been crippled with acute rheumatoid arthritis, or relieve her suffering.
Five days before her death, Boyes rejected treatment other than painkillers in a final decision to give up her fight for life. She signed her own death warrant, the court heard.
Boyes begged Cox to "finish her off," but he refused. Cox gave her a massive injection of heroin to ease her pain. Such a dose is capable of killing, but it provided Boyes with no relief, so Cox gave her a second injection.
This time he used two ampoules of undiluted potassium chloride, twice the amount which would normally prove fatal. Boyes died within minutes.