Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide which may be distressing to some readers.
After a lengthy battle against aggressive bowel cancer, in May 2021, Colin Stratton decided he’d had enough.
Just a few days shy of his 81st birthday, the loving man asked his family to do something for him.
Colin, along with his late wife, had been long term supporters of the voluntary euthanasia bill and members of Dying with Dignity.
On May 24th, Colin visited his GP and asked for a suicide pill in order to die on his own terms.
When the doctor hold him the paperwork would take up to two weeks, he informed his GP he would simply take matters into his own hands.
Impaired from extensive chemotherapy, Colin was unable to complete the task of ending his life by himself.
Instead, he asked his 54-year-old son Glenn to help him. Glenn initially refused.
“Don’t make me make a bloody mess of it, I can’t do it by myself,” Colin told the middle of his three children.
Glenn and his father exchanged “I love yous”, and Glenn completed one last task for his father.
“The psychological pressure on you must have been enormous,” Victorian Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said in a renewed hearing on Wednesday.
“You finally pulled the trigger spontaneously out of love and respect for his wishes,” she said.
Glenn explained to the court that his father had always done everything he could for his family, and in return they would’ve done anything for him.
His family are all supportive of his actions, as they saw the impact Colin’s illness had on the last years of his life.
“They also understand how important it was for him to be able to end his life on his own terms when the pain and burden of illness became too great for him,” Justice Hollingworth said.
“They describe your actions in helping your father achieve his wish as loving, courageous and selfless.”
Glenn Stratton was initially charged with murder after confessing his actions to police, and he spent 46 days behind bars, causing him to miss his father’s funeral.
Glenn pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting his father’s suicide, and Justice Hollingworth declared there would be no benefit to keeping him in jail.
He was instead ordered to undergo mandatory counselling.
Mr Stratton’s family have said they hope voluntary euthanasia will become more widely available so other families don’t have to go through the same thing.
If you or a member of your family need help in a crisis, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Image credit: 7News
This article first appeared on Over60.