HC Deb 14 December 1993 vol 234 c570W
Mrs. Ann Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the inquiries made and referred to in the statement of 11 November by Mr. Richard Turner of the western European department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that non-voluntary active termination of life is a practice which occurs in the United Kingdom, although it is illegal; and if he will identify the incidents of such murder to which the statement refers.

Mr. Goodlad

Having made prior inquiries of the Home Office and Department of Health, an FCO officer referred to non-voluntary active termination of life in his reply of 11 November to a letter from a member of the public. He made clear that this practice is not condoned by Her Majesty's Government.

Deliberate killing will in the absence of a lawful defence amount either to murder or manslaughter and the perpetrator of such an act would be liable to prosecution under the criminal law. Between 1988 and 1992, four offences of homicide relating to deliberate killing of a patient by a member of the health professions were notified to the police. All four of these offences were crimes committed by the nurse, Beverley Allitt. We have no further evidence of any unlawful killing of this sort occurring in this country.