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Cancer-riddled Colin Stratton was shot in the head by son Glenn Stratton in Castlemaine, Victoria

A heartbroken daughter relives the horrific moment when she found her terminally ill father dead by a gunshot wound to the head after ordering his son to kill him.

Cancer-riddled Colin Stratton, 80, pleaded for a “suicide pill” from his doctor to put him out of his misery, but turned to his son Glenn, 53, when they refused.

The grandfather initially tried to shoot himself with a rifle but couldn’t reach the trigger and begged Glenn to do it for him.

The older man propped the barrel against his own forehead as his son was eventually persuaded to fire the deadly shot.

Moments later, Glenn’s sister Donna arrived to find the tragic scene.

Colin Stratton dreamed of dying with a 'peaceful pill' and 'a cup of tea' after years of cancer, but doctors refused to force him to ask his son Glenn to take his life

Colin Stratton dreamed of dying with a ‘peaceful pill’ and ‘a cup of tea’ after years of cancer, but doctors refused to force him to ask his son Glenn to take his life

“I walked in and I found Glenn sitting on a milk crate with his head in his hands,” she said the Australian† She said Glenn said to her, “He’s there, he’s already done it.”

“Dad was sitting in his favorite chair with his fluoro orange cap on and he looked peaceful,” she added.

“His head just leaned forward, he looked so calm. I just hugged him and he was still warm and he still smelled like daddy. I hugged Glenn then and the police came.”

The divorced father of five was arrested that same day and spent 46 days in jail. He now suffers from severe PTSD.

His family has described Glenn as a “hero” — saying the system “has let us all down.”

Glenn Stratton, 53, agreed to shoot his cancer-stricken father Colin, 80, on his property in Castlemaine, Victoria last May after doctors refused to euthanize him

Glenn Stratton, 53, agreed to shoot his cancer-stricken father Colin, 80, on his property in Castlemaine, Victoria last May after doctors refused to euthanize him

“He’ll never be the same, we’re lucky he’s still here,” Donna said. “He’s the victim of it all.”

Brother Searle added: “The system has failed us all. Glenn is my hero. We don’t want another family to experience such a day.”

Colin and his late wife, Sue, had spoken to doctors several times about Victoria’s voluntary death program.

Under the scheme, terminally ill Victorian adults in excruciating pain and with less than six months to live, or 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases, and who meet 68 guarantees, can seek help from their doctor when dying.

The cabinet expects that up to 150 people per year will make use of the scheme.

However, Colin did not qualify, despite suffering from chronic cancer.

On May 24 last year, Colin woke up at his home in Castlemaine, northwest of Melbourne, and decided that this would be the last day of his 80-year life. †

“He always said that if he got really sick, he wanted to choose his time to die. We would have family gatherings where we would talk about it. Both my parents joined the Dying with Dignity group,” Donna said.

The family said Colin started thinking about euthanasia in 2007 when his wife Suzanne had her first seizure.

She died in 2015 of a brain haemorrhage, prompting son Glenn to return to their home in Queensland to care for their bereaved father.

Glenn, a divorced father of five and a carpenter, was living with his father in 2018 when Colin was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer.

Colin survived the surgery, but in September 2019, they discovered that the cancer had spread throughout his body and he was given a terminal diagnosis.

The family has described Glenn as a 'hero' - saying the system 'has let us all down'

The family has described Glenn as a ‘hero’ – saying the system ‘has let us all down’

He was given a terminal diagnosis and told his children he wanted to choose when he died.

“If I have a serious medical event, let me die… I want the pill so I can choose when.” He wrote. “No palliative care.”

However, a $70,000 immunotherapy treatment temporarily stabilized his cancer, meaning his death was no longer “threatened” and barred him from Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Program.

Colin still wanted his “suicide pill” – but he and his children lost thousands of dollars trying to get their hands on one and were unsuccessful.

Months before his death, the family says Colin’s quality of life continued to decline.

He suffered from osteoarthritis and Ménière’s disease, which affects, among other things, balance and hearing.

Colin also spent 10 days in the hospital due to excess fluid in his legs caused by insidious heart failure.

However, his cancer remained stable, meaning he couldn’t get the suicide pill he wanted.

“Through all of his treatments, he lost his taste and loved his cooking and his wine,” says Donna. “Because of his bad knees, he couldn’t garden anymore, which he loved.

“Actually, he was in constant pain and couldn’t do all those things that gave him pleasure in life.”

A week before his death, he wrote that he thought it was “the right time” to die.

On the day of his death, he told a doctor that he was in constant pain and that his ‘body was giving up’.

Colin asked her for the “suicide pill” and said that if she didn’t help him that day, he would go home and shoot himself in the head.

The doctor was unable to give him a pill immediately, as Donna and Glenn arrived to find their father growing increasingly agitated.

Despite suffering from chronic cancer, Colin did not qualify for the assisted dying program.

Despite suffering from chronic cancer, Colin did not qualify for the assisted dying program.

In the end, Glenn took Colin home while Donna stayed at the clinic.

Donna recounted the terrifying scenes of how Colin then asked Glenn to help him end his life.

Colin ordered his son to get the gun and a bullet from the shed. When Glenn returned with the gun his father had bought him for his 14th birthday, he asked his father to reconsider.

His father refused, and Glenn tried to pull the trigger twice, but couldn’t. His father yelled ‘don’t make a mess of it’.

Glenn finally pulled the trigger. Donna arrived shortly afterwards and explained how their father looked “calm.”

“We wanted to grieve as a family, but instead we came to the court to support Glenn,” she later said. “He was the victim in our eyes.”

Glenn ended up spending 46 days in jail before being released on bail on July 8. Two months later, the prosecution agreed to lower the charge from murder to complicity in suicide, which carries a five-year sentence.

His siblings say their brother is “broken and traumatized” and now suffers from severe PTSD.

On December 9, Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth put Glenn on a good behavior bond for two years, requiring him to undergo mental health treatment for his PTSD.

The judge added: “It would not benefit you or society in any way to send you to prison for this crime.”

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