Gail O’Rorke cleared in assisted suicide case

Gail O'Rorke

A taxi driver has been found not guilty of attempting to assist the suicide of a wheelchair bound friend suffering the final stages of multiple sclerosis.

In what is believed to be the first trial of its kind in Ireland, Gail O’Rorke, 43, from Kilclare Gardens in Tallaght, Dublin, was charged over the booking of flights to Switzerland between March 10 and April 20 2011 to travel to the Dignitas clinic.

Bernadette Forde, 51, a former employee with Guinness in Dublin, died at her home in Morehampton Mews, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 on June 6 2011.

She was unable to go to Zurich after a travel agent alerted authorities that flights had been booked for her, her nephew Bernard Forde Monaghan and O’Rorke.

A jury of six men and six women at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin returned the not guilty verdict after more than seven hours of deliberations.

The jury's verdict was by majority decision.

In emotional scenes, Ms O’Rorke burst into tears and clasped her hands to her face.

Supporters, relatives and friends who were in the court throughout the trial clapped and cheered as the verdict was delivered.

Judge Patrick McCartan told Ms O’Rorke: “You have been found not guilty. You are free to go.”

She was Ms Forde’s cleaner before becoming her friend and carer over the last 10 years of her life as she became wheelchair bound following a devastating car accident in the Brown Thomas car park in Dublin.

During the trial the court heard how Ms O’Rorke answered panic alarm calls day and night if Ms Forde fell, sacrificed hours on the road earning money in her taxi to care for her, washed her feet, helped her in the bathroom and ensured she got outside.

Last week she was found not guilty of two charges in connection with the suicide on the direction of Judge Patrick McCartan.

Ms O'Rorke was initially cleared of aiding and abetting Ms Forde's suicide between April 20 and June 6 in 2011 by helping her to procure and administer a toxic substance.

The court heard Ms Forde signed for a courier package at her home which contained barbiturates sourced from Mexico.

Ms O’Rorke was also found not guilty last week of procuring the suicide by making funeral arrangements from June 4-6 2011 in advance of the death.

Ms Forde was found dead in a wheelchair in her living room having taken a lethal dose of barbiturates.


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