A man was arrested and charged with murder after picking up his mother and throwing her over a balcony to her death because she had caught a seasonal virus. However, instead of convicting the man, the judge actually cleared him of murder, calling the death drop an “act of love.”
Just minutes after paramedics arrived at Langley Lodge Nursing Home in Westcliff, Essex, 72-year-old June Knight was declared dead. The elderly woman had suffered a fractured skull, a fatal wound for the feeble resident. Moments earlier, her murderer was the one to notify staff members that they should call the police.
Along with the privilege of a full life comes the consequences of nature. Even the healthiest individuals cannot escape old age, disease, and other health concerns. Fortunately, the majority of people still respect the sanctity of these lives, no matter how elderly or infirmed they are. Sadly, not everyone is so convinced.
The Metro reports that 52-year-old Robert Knight calmly admitted to walking into his mother’s care home, scooping her up out of bed, and carrying her over to a 13-foot-high balcony before dropping her over the side. Disturbingly, he casually informed caretakers of his heinous crime, saying, “Call the police — I have just killed my mother.” He then told emergency responders, “I threw her over there,” pointing toward the fire door leading to the balcony.
In most cases, such a confession would result in an open-and-shut murder conviction, especially considering that Robert unhesitatingly cooperated with the police and prosecutor. However, it was only a matter of time before he had effortlessly convinced the judge to let him walk free thanks to his unbelievable reasoning.
Basildon Crown Court heard that Robert had told detectives he was “distressed” that his mother had caught a seasonal virus and “could not bear to see her suffer.” As such, he decided that the best way to end her pain was to kill her by throwing her to her death.
Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said, “He [Robert] told police he had decided he would end her life. Asked if he had contemplated any other way, he told police he would not have been able to face the prospect of smothering her with a pillow. He admitting carrying her from her bed and that he would have had to have acted quickly.”
Despite his absurd excuse, Judge Samantha Leigh was apparently convinced that Robert wasn’t at fault, saying that he “acted out of love” and calling it a “mercy killing.” In a bizarre ruling, he was cleared of murder and was given a 2-year suspended sentence, meaning that he won’t be jailed at all for killing his mother, according to the BBC.
While sentencing Knight at Basildon Crown Court, Judge Leigh said, “You are someone who acted out of love and desperation. You have been punished enough and you have to live with what you have done.” She added that it had been a “very sad case” and described it as a “mercy killing.”
Robert’s mother was recovering from a virus when he began clashing with nurses about how much pain medication and the type of treatment she was receiving. He believed that his mother wasn’t being allowed enough pain medication for her suffering. As such, he saw the only option as taking her life.
June indeed suffered from her illness, especially as an elderly woman with dementia. However, her life held value, and for her own son to destroy it with such impunity proves that our society is dehumanizing the vulnerable, helpless, infirmed, and elderly.
Robert will be required to complete 60 days of rehabilitation after being released by the court. Robert has literally gotten away with murder as the court had decided to rule based on feeling rather than fact.
He took a life by a means other than self-defense, killing a woman who had a right to live and die with dignity. Most disturbingly, this ruling sets a precedent for other cases, allowing room for people to kill whether or not the victim wanted to die as long as they believe it was out of mercy.