Womenz Magazine

Mum Admits Ending Son’s Life with Morphine to Alleviate His Cancer Pain

(Image: PA)

A mother has confessed to ending her seven-year-old son’s life with a “large dose of morphine” to relieve him of the excruciating pain he suffered while battling stage four cancer. Antonya Cooper, 77, from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, revealed that she “quietly” ended the life of her son Hamish, who was terminally ill with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer predominantly affecting children.

Hamish was in “a lot of pain” before his death in 1981. Antonya, now facing a terminal diagnosis herself, made this admission on BBC Radio Oxford as she campaigned to change the law on assisted dying, which is currently illegal in England. Hamish was just five when he was diagnosed with the aggressive disease and given a prognosis of three months.

The young boy underwent 16 months of “beastly” cancer treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which extended his life but left him in severe pain. Antonya recounted, “On Hamish’s last night, when he said he was in a lot of pain, I asked him, ‘Would you like me to remove the pain?’ and he said, ‘Yes please, mama.’ Through his Hickman catheter, I gave him a large dose of morphine that quietly ended his life.”

When asked if she believed Hamish knew she was ending his life, Antonya responded, “I feel very strongly that at the point of Hamish telling me he was in pain and asking me to remove his pain, he knew, he knew somewhere what was going to happen. But I cannot obviously tell you why or how, but I was his mother, he loved his mother, and I totally loved him. I was not going to let him suffer, and I feel he really knew where he was going.”

Antonya continued, “It was the right thing to do. My son was facing the most horrendous suffering and intense pain. I was not going to allow him to go through that.” When asked if she understood she was potentially admitting to manslaughter or murder, she replied, “Yes. If they come 43 years after I allowed Hamish to die peacefully, then I would have to face the consequences. But they would have to be quick because I’m dying too.”

Now, four decades later, Antonya is herself suffering from incurable cancer, which she says has solidified her views on assisted death. “We don’t do it to our pets. Why should we do it to humans?” she questioned. ‘Right to die’ campaigners argue that individuals should have the right to choose when and how they die to avoid suffering, while critics warn that changing the law could “place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives.”

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