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Journalist arrested over 'mercy killing' claim

Birmingham Mail columnist Maureen Messent has been arrested over her claim that she helped end the life of a terminally ill relative.

She wrote in the paper last month of the circumstances surrounding the death of a sick aunt around 40 years ago.

Devon and Cornwall Police travelled to the West Midlands and arrested 67-year-old Maureen Messent, who was released on bail until June.

Maureen told readers that she had spoken out because of possible changes in euthanasia laws.

Her editor, Steve Dyson, had spoken to her before the column was published, visiting her at home to explain the implications of her story, but she went ahead and revealed what she says was her “family secret”.

Police are set to speak to the Crown Prosecution Service on whether to take the matter further.

Maureen started in journalism at the Western Morning News and then the Evening Herald in Plymouth. She joined the Birmingham Mail as a reporter in the mid 60s. She stayed with the Mail, writing her hard-hitting column for the past 15 years.

She retired two years ago, but still writes her weekly column.