Kay Gilderdale, 54, has been charged with the attempted murder of her bedridden daughter who suffered for 17 years from ME/CFS. Kay was the full-time caregiver to her daughter, Lynn Gilderdale, 31. Lynn died last December after a suspected morphine overdose reported by Mrs. Gilderdale’s ex-husband, Richard, a former police sergeant. If Gilderdale is convicted, she could spend the rest of her life in prison.
After she was arrested, her family issued a statement praising her ‘total dedication’ to her daughter. The Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to charge her is likely to reignite the debate on mercy killing in this country and will highlight an apparent inconsistency in the law. Families who take their chronically ill loved ones to die abroad have not faced prosecution in recent years.
Lynn suffered from a very severe case of ME/CFS where she was unable to walk, unable to speak and had to be fed through a feeding tube. Lynn’s family believes that she came down with the illness after a turberculosis immunization back in 1991. Before becoming ill at the young age of 14, Lynn was a prize-winning ballet dancer, a swimmer and played the piano and clarinet.
The family of Lynn stated that:
‘Lynn was young, beautiful, loving and caring. At the age of 14 years she was struck down by ME – an illness greatly misunderstood – and as a result, suffered the stigma attached to this dreadful illness.
‘She fought long and hard for 17 years with immense bravery, enduring constant pain and sickness. Every system of her body was affected. She required 24-hour care that was provided by her totally dedicated mother, with continuous support from Lynn’s father.’