Woman cleared over friend's suicide
The family of a woman who was cleared of helping her best friend to kill herself has said she did not deserve to be prosecuted and "wouldn't harm anybody."
Milly Caller's family could not contain their relief after the 22-year-old was found not guilty of encouraging or assisting the suicide of Emma Crossman, 21, by a jury at Lincoln Crown Court.
Miss Caller said she was relieved but said she did not know what else to say, after she left the dock.
She left it to her brother, Jason, 30, and sisters Emma, 32, and Fiona, 26, to express the family's frustration at the prosecution along with her mother, Carol, who was crying in court.
Her sister, Fiona, said: "She hasn't got a nasty bone in her body. She's the nicest person you would ever meet.
"She doesn't deserve any of this."
Fiona Caller said: "Finally we have received the verdict we have been longing for.
"Although we do not see this as a celebration, we are extremely relieved.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us through this difficult time.
"Milly can now move on with her life and grieve properly for her best friend Emma."
Miss Caller's mother, Carol, said: "It's been difficult for all of us.
"Nobody who knows Milly can believe it's even come to this. She was quiet and she wouldn't harm anybody."
Jason Caller said the prosecution of his sister had been "very stressful".
Asked if he thought it was right to prosecute, he said: "Not in our view."
Mr Caller said: "It's a massive relief. It's the right verdict."
Miss Crossman was found dead in her house in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, in January last year.
Prosecutors said there was no dispute that Miss Caller has supplied her friend with a gas that she had used to kill herself.
But the jury found Miss Caller not guilty after hearing six days of evidence, including from Miss Caller, who said she did not think her friend would take her own life.
Miss Caller was alleged by the prosecution to have been "obsessed and infatuated" by Miss Crossman.
The jury was read a stream of text and social media messages that were exchanged between the two young women in the days before Miss Crossman died.
One message from Miss Caller said: "I just keep thinking I murdered you."
In another, Miss Caller said: "I'm losing my best mate. I do understand why you are doing it and I do stand by you but it still hurts. I am sorry."
The pair's exchanges on the night Miss Crossman died involved her explaining what she was doing and how she was feeling.
Miss Crossman eventually asked her friend to take care of her cat, Tia.
Miss Caller replied: "She'll be looked after always."
Opening the case for the prosecution last week, Mark McKone told the jury t he facts of the case were not disputed but Miss Caller was pleading not guilty on the basis she did not think Miss Crossman would actually kill herself.
The court heard how Miss Crossman had a history of depression, self-harm and tablet overdoses.
The jury was told she was particularly badly affected by relationship breakdowns and had split up with her partner, Adrian Kemp, 56, a month or so before her death.
Mr Kemp told the jury how his former girlfriend had self-harmed, taken an overdose of pills and talked regularly of killing herself during their relationship. He also explained how she would drink heavily with Miss Caller and she would be a different person when she was drunk.
But he said he never believed she would carry out her threats to kill herself. He said he thought it was always a matter of her trying to get his attention.
Miss Caller said she found her friend's body the morning after she died and desperately tried to perform CPR on her.
She said she did not intentionally try to help Miss Crossman commit suicide.
The jury of four women and eight men came back with the not guilty verdict just moments after they had been given a majority direction by the judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave.
They had been deliberating for about four and a half hours.
Miss Caller, of Great Hale, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, had denied one count of encouraging or assisting suicide.
She did not show any emotion as she stood in the dock for the verdict wearing a black leather jacket and black trousers and flanked by a security guard.
But once she left the dock she was engulfed by hugs from her tearful family.