Francis Inglis, who injected her brain damaged son, Thomas, with a lethal dose of heroin, was found guilty of murder by an Old Bailey jury. Judge Brian Barker QC said that there was “no concept in law of mercy killing”, and ordered Ms Inglis to serve at least nine years of her life sentence.

Thomas, 22, had sustained severe head injuries in a road traffi c accident in 2008, which left him able to communicate only by blinking and squeezing hands. Mrs Inglis described her son’s condition as a “living hell”, and said that the fi nal straw came around six months after his accident, when she was told that the only way for her son to be allowed to die legally would be to apply to the High Court to withhold food and water. Following the verdict, Mrs Inglis’ eldest son called for a review of the law, asking: “How can it be legal to withhold food and water, which means a slow and painful death, yet illegal to end all suffering in a quick, calm and loving way?”