Mercy death mother under investigation

14th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

BOULOGNE, France, Jan 13 (AFP) - A French woman who helped her severely handicapped son die by putting an overdose of sedatives in his intravenous drip was Tuesday placed under judicial investigation, her lawyer said.

BOULOGNE, France, Jan 13 (AFP) - A French woman who helped her severely handicapped son die by putting an overdose of sedatives in his intravenous drip was Tuesday placed under judicial investigation, her lawyer said.

Marie Humbert, the mother of the deceased Vincent Humbert, broke into tears as she emerged from two hours of questioning by the judge handling the case in Boulogne, northern France.

"I was able to tell her how I felt. I expect the justice system to do its job, I hope the justice system will show mercy," she said.

Her lawyer, Hugues Vigier, said his client was placed under judicial examination - the precursor to a formal charge - for the premeditated "administering of toxic substances."

If formally charged and found guilty, Marie Humbert could be sentenced to five years in jail.

The mother, who waged a passionate campaign for her son's right to die, gave him the overdose in hospital in the northern town of Berck-sur-Mer last September 24 - three years to the day since the road accident that caused his injuries. Two days later, after the 22-year-old young man slipped into a coma, a doctor administered a lethal injection.

Vincent Humbert, a former fireman who was quadriplegic, blind and dumb, hit the headlines in late 2002 when he sent a letter to President Jacques Chirac pleading for a dispensation from France's criminal ban on mercy killing.

Doctor Frederic Chaussoy administered the deadly injection to Vincent Humbert after his mother's actions had placed the young man in a coma.

Chaussoy will appear before the Boulogne judge on Wednesday, and could be placed under judicial examination for "premeditated poisoning", a crime which carries a possible life term in prison.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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