British police are investigating after a prominent BBC broadcaster admitted on air that he had killed a lover of his who was dying of AIDS. But the TV personality says he won’t cooperate with police.
During BBC One’s Inside Out, broadcast Monday night, host Ray Gosling made the startling admission that he had suffocated his lover in a hospital when doctors declared there was nothing more they could do to end his suffering.
“Maybe this is the time to share a secret I’ve kept for quite a long time. I killed someone once,” Gosling said, as he strolled through an East Midlands cemetery in the documentary segment.
“He was a young chap, he’d been my lover, and he got AIDS,” Gosling continued, his eyes tearing up as he recounted the event. “And in a hospital one hot afternoon, doctors said ‘There’s nothing we can do.’ And he was in terrible, terrible pain. I said to the doctor, leave me just for a bit. And he went away. And I picked up the pillow, and smothered him until he was dead. The doctor came back. I said, ‘he’s gone.’ Nothing more was ever said.”
Gosling explained that he had an “agreement” with his lover that he would end his lover’s life “if it got worse, the pain, and nobody could do anything,” as quoted at the Daily Telegraph.
Gosling’s revelation has caused an uproar in the UK, where the question of assisted suicide has been a heated political issue of late. While the practice of mercy killing is outlawed in the country and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, there have been a number of high-profile cases of British citizens traveling to Switzerland for assisted suicide, where the practice is legal.
And while Gosling has said that he isn’t “making a cause” of the controversy, he has asserted that he doesn’t plan to cooperate with police.
“I’m not going to tell [the police] anything,” Gosling told the press Tuesday, as quoted at the Times of London.
“There are different kinds of law, you know. There’s a law that’s written in law books and there’s a law in your heart … Different laws carry different weights at different times. … [Going to jail] is what has to happen maybe. I will have to see what happens.”
Not everyone agrees that Gosling’s actions amount to assisted suicide. A doctor with Care Not Killing, a group that opposes assisted suicide, told the BBC that Gosling’s account sounded like a story “not of assisted suicide but of intentional killing or murder.”
“At the moment all we have is Ray’s word there was a pact and it wasn’t clear from his description whether his lover even wanted to be killed or asked to be,” Dr. Peter Saunders said.
Saunders also criticized the BBC for not going to the police with Gosling’s revelation, even though the TV segment had been filmed in December. The BBC countered that it had no legal obligation to report the information.
But groups that support reform of mercy killing laws are rallying to Gosling’s side.
“Crucially, Ray Gosling’s loved one was terminally ill and clearly asked for help to die when he was suffering unbearably at the end of his life,” said Sarah Wootton of Dignity for Dying, as quoted at the Times.
“This illustrates a need for formal assisted dying legislation to help those who want choice at the end of life, as well as protect people who may be vulnerable to coercion,” she said.
Gosling argued before the press on Tuesday that the doctor in attendance was well aware what was happening.
“There was this moment and the doctor said to me something like, ‘I will pop out and have a fag now’ or ‘go to the canteen’ or ‘go to another ward – and will you still be here when I get back, Ray?’ And I said, ‘Ye-es.’
“It was an invitation. Why do doctors leave extra morphine for people who are in extreme pain? ‘It’s in the drawer, just in case you need it’ … Doctors are doing this every day.”
This video is from BBC One’s Inside Out, broadcast Feb. 15, 2010.