Story: Suicide

Lesley Martin leaving court

Lesley Martin leaving court

The illegality of assisting the suicide of people suffering painful or terminal illnesses was highlighted in 2004 when Lesley Martin was convicted of attempting to murder her mother. Martin, a trained nurse, had returned to Whanganui from Australia in early 1999 to look after her mother Joy. Following Joy's death from cancer, Martin wrote an account of her role in her mother's death, which was published as To die like a dog – the personal face of the euthanasia debate. She was subsequently arrested and charged with attempted murder by injecting her mother with morphine. Here Lesley Martin is shown leaving the Whanganui court with her lawyer Donald Stevens. She eventually received a 15-month prison sentence, of which she served seven-and-a-half months before being released.

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Suicide - Preventing suicide', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 May 2022)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 16 Jul 2019 with assistance from Sunny Collings and Rosemary Du Plessis