1. ITV Report

Belgian murderer and rapist's request for mercy killing accepted

Frank Van Den Bleeken has been a prison for 30 years for his crimes. Credit: PA Wire

A Belgian man convicted of murder and rape will be allowed to let doctors end his life.

Frank Van Den Bleeken, 50, has spent the last 30 years in prison for multiple rape convictions and murder, and has begged authorities to help end his life to release him from "unbearable psychological suffering".

And in a landmark ruling, the Belgium justice ministry has agreed to authorise the killing.

It is believed to be the first ruling on right-to-die involving a prisoner since euthanasia was approved 12 years ago.

The sex offender will be transferred from a prison in Bruges to a hospital in the next few days where he will be euthanised, AFP report.

Van Den Bleeken has previously spoken of his "pain" at feeling like a menace to society.

He has only left prison once in 30 years to attend his mother's funeral.

"I am a human being, and regardless of what I've done, I remain a human being. So, yes, give me euthanasia," Van Den Bleeken said in comments on Belgian television.

To be euthanised, Belgium states that patients must be capable and conscious, and have presented a "voluntary, considered and repeated" argument for their reasons to end their life.

The country controversially legalised euthanasia for terminally ill children in February, sparking a heated public debate.