David Paterson murder

Heather Davidson had 'no right' to deprive her victim of the dignified death he wanted, his family said after she was jailed for murder.

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Watch: 'Mercy killer' call to cancer charity

81-year-old cancer patient David Paterson was close to a natural death when he was suffocated by 54-year-old Heather Davidson in the bedroom of his Thirsk care home on February 11.

About two hours before, she had called Macmillan Cancer Support to ask if smothering her friend would make her a murderer.

Watch a reconstruction of her tearful phone call below:

Church-goer Davidson has been today (June 5) been jailed for life with a minimum term of nine years for Mr Paterson's murder.

David Paterson murder: police statement

David Paterson
Heather Davidson

A Thirsk woman has today (June 5) been sentenced to life imprisonment, serving a minimum of nine years, for the murder of a terminally ill man at a care home in Sowerby near Thirsk.

54-year-old Heather Pauline Davidson, of Sowerby Road, Thirsk, previously pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court to murdering 81-year-old David Paterson at Sowerby House care home on February 11.

Today our thoughts remain with Mr Paterson’s family who have had to endure the intrusion of a criminal investigation at an already distressing time in their lives.

Heather Davidson has claimed her motivation for murdering David Paterson was mercy killing, however in the eyes of the law and David’s family, her actions were murder.

David Paterson was a deeply religious man who had made his peace with God in anticipation of his death due to terminal illness. The dignity he should have had in meeting death on his own terms, was taken away from him by a woman he trusted as a friend and whom he had helped in the past.

David’s family have had to deal with the trauma caused by Heather Davidson, when instead they should have been able to grieve normally and celebrate their uncle’s life.

– Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Ellis, North Yorkshire Police


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