Act of love?

September 1, 2009

Man poisoned wife in “ill thought-out” act of love

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A British pensioner who tried to poison his estranged wife so he could rekindle her love by nursing her back to health escaped jail on Friday.

William Dowling, 69, slipped mercury into his wife Maureen’s tea at least five times.

Paul Lewis, for the defense, said in mitigation: “the actions he undertook were only intended to annoy his wife so she would feel the need for him to care for her and so resurrect their relationship.

Intentionally poisoning someone in the hopes of rendering them helpless so that they’ll need you to take care of them IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE. That is ABUSE, plain and simple. Who on earth approved that headline? Are you trying to suggest to your readers that they should be happy/forgiving if their husbands poison them, because they only do it out of love?


Since when is poisoning someone and risking their life ever an “act of love”? Also, did you completely miss the part where the judge presiding over the case noted that the woman left her husband because he was “controlling” to her? What is this criminal act if not another attempt to CONTROL her, no matter what the cost?

It was very wrong to put such a title on this piece. It gives the impression that this kind of behavior is ever acceptable or based in affection rather than harmful and abusive attitudes of possession and control.


First off in the article it says he “tried” to poison his wife, when he actually did poison her twice. The fact she didn’t die doesn’t change the fact he poisoned her. The second thing is that this man didn’t do it out of “love” he did it out of control and anger. Please do not romanticize violence. It was evil, not love, that motivated this man.


Comparing love with domestic violence is a problem. Please change this.


Way to go, Reuters. There isn’t enough conflation between “love” and “men doing violence to women” in our culture already? Men stalk women because they “love” them. Men hit women because they “love” them. Men rape women because they “love” them. Men kill their partners (and children) because they “love” them.


So if a man deliberately feeding his estranged wife mercury in the hopes of re-establishing his dominance over her is going to be described as performing an “act of love,” what would you call an “act of hate”? I’m absolutely disgusted with the mindset that thinks this kind of headline is an appropriate description of a poisoner.


I am wondering about your decision to use this headline. I realize that standards are usually lower for “lifestyle” pieces, but isn’t it equally problematic to trivialize attempted murder by classifying it thus?


This was a very, very unpopular headline, and the readers were right. Unless we could quote someone else calling it an “act of love,” that phrase should not have been used: GBU Editor

A Silvia butterfly approaches a teacup in the aviary of Galleria Borghese in Rome May 13, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

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thank you for allowing me to reply to–Glenn Beck losing
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Posted by dianne puryear | Report as abusive

Honestly, I don’t think the title is inappropriate at all. There’s a question mark at the end of the title, which suggests sarcasm, irony, and is clearly meant to lead readers towards a skeptical reading of title phrase “Act of Love”.

If the question mark was absent, I would agree with all the negative comments stated before.

The power of punctuation.

Posted by CDL | Report as abusive