Tuesday 3 November 2009

Apparent double suicide case should be investigated

The BBC has reported the deaths of Dennis and Flora Milner of Newbury, Berkshire and their alleged suicide note.

Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media this evening:
"The police should investigate the circumstances of this couple's apparent suicide to establish whether any other person was involved in the deaths. We would like them to look into issues such as possible social or financial pressures the couple might have been under. We will be writing to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) urging him to ensure that the matter is fully investigated. It seems anomalous that the dead couple expressed gratitude to doctors for keeping them alive for 'at least 25-30 years', when it is reported that they didn't want to become dependent on the care of other people.

"Naturally, the information that is publicly available is limited. The BBC's report did not state whether the couple themselves gave any reason for ending their lives. The couple apparently said they thought suicide was a 'human right', but not why they wanted to take this step.

"We will look carefully at the reporting of this suicide to see whether it is being conducted in line with guidelines for journalists which are designed to help avoid copy-cat suicides by vulnerable people. If people think that they can make a splash in the national media in this way, it could encourage others to kill themselves as a way of highlighting their pet cause - which would be a tragic and probably futile exercise.

"The National Suicide Prevention Strategy seeks to reduce the incidence of suicide, and guidelines for journalists have been issued to minimise the negative impact of reporting".
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