A former Conservative Party councillor is being investigated by the police after admitting that he administered a lethal injection to his wife who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
71-year-old property developer and former army medic Douglas Hellier Laing admitted in a newspaper confession aiming to promote the legalisation of assisted suicide that he killed his first wife with a lethal injection in 1998. His wife had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was thought to be terminally ill.
He wrote that he was willing to “take whatever was coming” as a result of his actions. In a letter to the Sunday Times, who announced last year that they would be campaigning to make assisted suicide legal in Britain, Laing said:
“I have struggled with what I did and only recently spoken to close family about it”.
“I wanted to make my actions public knowledge in support of the move to legalise assisted dying”.
“I know the consequences and it doesn’t bother me one jot”.
Laing alleges that doctors familiar with the military nurse provided him with the lethal drugs that he used to end his wife’s life.
Laing had kept this secret until last year when he began to follow the Sunday Times campaign to legalise assisted suicide.
It has since been revealed that the former Conservative councillor was jailed for three years in 2017 after attacking his second wife with a wooden mallet. The assisted suicide advocacy group, Dignity in Dying, has distanced itself from Laing after this became known.
Devon and Cornwall Police have launched a homicide investigation into the death of his first wife in 1998.
The Sunday Times launched its campaign to make assisted suicide legal in the UK in May 2021. When Devon and Cornwall Police launched their investigation into Laing, the Sunday Times refused to co-operate with the force and described the inquiries as “idiotic” and a “wrong-headed and pointless” waste of police time.
The Sunday Times, whether by active choice or ignorance, failed to alert readers to the fact that Laing had been jailed for attacking his second wife with a mallet.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The advocacy of the Sunday Times to legalise assisted suicide has seriously undermined its credibility. Laing’s story was used to promote their own agenda and they failed to give the crucial context that might indicate that at least some people who euthanise a loved one have a self-serving and even cruel motive for doing so. Laing’s violent actions suggest his euthanising of his first wife may not have been the purely compassionate act that the Sunday Times would like it to be”.