A woman has been charged with murder for unplugging her ailing 70-year-old partner’s hospital breathing machine resulting in his death.
The suspect, identified as 53-year-old Renate E., has been charged with murder in the north-eastern Austrian capital Vienna.
Renate E. is alleged to have ‘euthanised’ her 70-year-old partner by disconnecting his breathing machine while he was a patient at the Vienna General Hospital (AKH).
Her lawyer Gunther Gahleithner claimed: “My client and her boyfriend swore on it by mutual agreement.”
After years of happiness together, the man – almost 20 years her senior – was admitted to hospital in March 2018 with pneumonia and kidney failure.
On 6th April, Renate E. was told by doctors that her partner’s situation was dire and that he only had a few hours to live.
She is believed to have a drunk a copious amount of alcohol before going to visit her elderly partner.
In an unobserved moment, she allegedly removed the patient’s dialysis catheter and breathing tube which resulted in his death.
Renate E. then went home where police arrested her later the same evening.
Doctors had reported the situation to the police and informed them that the dead man’s partner had gone missing.
Even though the victim was reportedly in the process of dying, prosecutors have nonetheless decided to charge his partner with murder.
However, Gahleithner called it a “mercy killing” and that they “will plead for assisted suicide” which in Austria has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
According to local media, Renate E.’s trial, which has not yet been scheduled, will add fuel to the current national debate about the legality of assisted suicide and euthanasia.