Many will condemn her. But Frances, freed last week after five years in jail for murdering her brain-damaged son, insists it's what he would have wanted
Every night of the five years she spent in prison for murder, Frances Inglis went to sleep thinking of her son Tom and the 22 years they shared before she ended his life.
She remembered the strong, handsome young man he was, blessed with a mischievous sense of humour and zest for life – and the pitiful state to which he was reduced.
In the small hours, as she tossed and turned, the nightmare vision of Tom lying permanently brain‑damaged in a hospital bed with no hope of recovery returned to haunt her.
She wept inconsolably as she recalled the image of her son’s once‑perfect face horribly deformed by the emergency surgery that saved his life after a freak accident left him with catastrophic head injuries.
Tom’s swollen tongue protruded from cracked lips, his limbs were contorted and his eyes open but unseeing. There was a large dent where his skull had been removed to relieve brain pressure.
Doubly incontinent and unable to communicate, Tom was in a vegetative state. He would need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
‘Seeing my darling son like that was pure hell,’ says Frances, her voice breaking. ‘It was like watching someone you love being captured, held to ransom and tortured every single day. It was horror, nothing but endless horror.
‘So in prison, whenever I asked myself: “Did I do the right thing?” I made myself think of Tom in that terrible state, alive but with no life to speak of, and I felt at peace that I was able to release him from his suffering.’