Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 15:20 UK

No charges in West Yorkshire assisted death case

A man who helped his wife to kill herself by placing a bag over her head will not face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said.

The CPS said there was sufficient evidence to charge Michael Bateman, 63, of Birstall, West Yorkshire, but it was not in the public interest to do so.

Mr Bateman admitted assisting his wife Margaret, 62, who had suffered decades of pain, with her death in October.

Mrs Bateman died by inhaling helium gas with a plastic bag over her head.

Bryan Boulter, reviewing lawyer for the CPS special crime division, concluded that Mr Bateman's only motivation for being involved in the death of his wife was compassion.

'Years of care'

He said Mrs Bateman "had a clear and settled wish to commit suicide" and interviews with Mr Bateman and the couple's sons supported this.

"It was also clear that Mr Bateman was wholly motivated by compassion," Mr Boulter said.

"He cared deeply for his wife and had taken care of her daily needs for several years. There was no evidence to suggest any motive other than compassion."

Mr Bateman admitted helping his wife to put a plastic bag over her head and with putting together the helium gas apparatus.

However, it was Mrs Bateman who tightened the strings of the bag and turned on the helium supply, the CPS investigation found.

A spokesman for the CPS said they were unable to give details of Mrs Bateman's condition "for privacy reasons".

Mr Boulter added: "Mr Bateman co-operated fully with the investigation into the suicide and freely admitted assisting Mrs Bateman.

"As such, there was sufficient evidence to charge the offence of aiding or abetting a suicide, but it would not have been in the public interest to do so in the particular circumstances of this case."

The BBC was unable to contact Mr Bateman for comment.

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