BBC presenter 'wasted cops time'

2010-08-20 12:43

London - A veteran British broadcaster will be told on Friday he faces charges of wasting police time after claiming in a TV documentary that he killed an ex-lover who had Aids, a report said.

Ray Gosling was arrested for murder in February after making the on-screen confession, which stirred up a media storm at a time when Britain was locked in an intense debate over assisted suicide. He is currently free on police bail.

The BBC presenter, 71, said he smothered the unnamed man as he lay seriously ill in hospital "in the early period of Aids" - likely to be the 1980s.

But Britain's Times newspaper reported on Friday that after several months of investigation detectives had not found any evidence to support the claim, citing a source close to the case.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has approved the decision to charge Gosling for wasting police, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail, said the paper.

"Hundreds of hours of officers’ time has been spent investigating Mr Gosling’s claim and they have not been able to find any information to substantiate it," said the source, quoted by the Times.

"Officers had a duty to investigate what appeared to have been an admission of murder or another serious offence but have received very little co-operation from Mr Gosling.

"They have more important things to be doing than chasing these sorts of claims."

Sharp focus

Gosling is due to answer police bail on Friday and is expected to be told to appear at court in Nottingham, central England, next month, said the Times.

In the programme, the presenter told of how he had taken his lover's life after they agreed to a pact.

"In a hospital one hot afternoon, the doctor said, 'There's nothing we can do', and he was in terrible, terrible pain," he told viewers. "I said to the doctor, 'Leave me just for a bit' and he went away.

"I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead."

Helping people with terminal illnesses to commit suicide is a hotly disputed topic here, where it remains illegal but is rarely prosecuted.

The issue has been brought into sharp focus by a string of high-profile cases. These included two cases of mothers who killed their seriously ill children, one of whom was jailed and another who was not.