A standard dictionary defines euthanasia as ‘the act or practice of putting painlessly to death, especially in cases of incurable suffering’ (Chambers’ Twenty First Century Dictionary).1 To the layman, this may imply two things: firstly, that it is at least a morally, if not legally, permissible activity and secondly, if it is not permissible, then it is an independent offence called ‘euthanasia’. What is less evident is that any person who carries out euthanasia is liable to be prosecuted for murder, because euthanasia is the intentional taking of life. This is so, despite the fact that euthanasia is carried out with compassionate motives, because the criminal law ostensibly takes no account of motives except at the sentencing stage.