Today I thought I should follow up on this piece from February about Ray Gosling, the BBC presenter who claimed in a television documentary that he mercy-killed his terminally ill lover.
As you may know, the police interviewed Gosling as a matter of course after the show aired to see whether there was a case for him to answer. Instead of trying to work out whether to charge him for his supposed act of compassion, though (remember that assisted suicide is illegal in this country), they smelt a rat and began to suspect him of making the whole thing up. Today a court gave Gosling a 90-day suspended sentence for wasting police time, as the BBC reports.
Looking back and reading my blog entry about the original “confession”, I was rather suspicious about Gosling’s motives for revealing his story. I wrote at the time: “But from my point of view, there’s something incongruous between the act of Gosling smothering his AIDS-riddled lover with a pillow, and the overly theatrical way in which he explained it on the Inside Out programme, and his subsequent interview on Radio 5 Live in which, frankly, he sounded unhinged… I can’t help feeling that the theatrical way in which he presented the story, and the terminology used, seem to muddy the view that he simply did what he had to.”
The truth of the matter was staring me in the face. I had picked up the signs but hadn’t come to the right conclusion, which would appear to be that Gosling was simply attention-seeking. Perhaps he was trying to give himself a bit of notoriety to enhance a media career that was treading water. After the programme aired he claimed to be surprised by the intense public reaction, but now it looks like this was the intention all along.
Of course, the real victims here are the family of Gosling’s lover, who must be terribly hurt by this pathetic attempt at subterfuge. It came to light during the court case that the police spent over 1,800 hours investigating the false report, and that Gosling wasn’t even in the country when his lover died. Despite this, the presenter at first protested his innocence, claiming, “In my heart and in my head I plead not guilty.” His solicitor eventually persuaded him to change his plea to guilty, but it is clear that even now Gosling cannot accept exactly what he has done. Look at the language used: “Digby Johnson, my solicitor, tells me technically I am guilty.” Technically? And he still insists that the mythical pact with his lover existed.
As far as I’m concerned, Gosling isn’t right in the head. To make something like this up was incredibly cruel and self-serving, but at least his fantasist ways have been revealed and his career is certainly now in ruins. Looks like the karma police have got a result, then, even if common decency hasn’t.