A UWC professor who helped his terminally ill mother die is to move to a safe house after receiving death threats.
Sean Davison is serving five months’ home detention in his native New Zealand after pleading guilty in the Dunedin High Court to a charge of procuring the suicide of his mother.
On Thursday last week, Davison received a note in the post which appeared to be a death threat containing a Biblical reference.
The note, made up of words cut out of a magazine, read: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, mother killer.”
Davison said he had chosen not to tell the police.
“If I was in South Africa, I would have been very concerned.
“But in New Zealand, I did not take it seriously.”
But then a day later a brick, with a note attached, was thrown through the living room window of the house he was living in for the duration of his house arrest.
Davison said a neighbour had seen a car outside the gate, which had sped away immediately after the incident.
The note read: “Leave God’s laws or be struck down dead.”
“I immediately called the police, who informed the media.
“There is not a lot of crime in this part of the country and the police have taken it very seriously.”
He told the Cape Times in an e-mail yesterday that he was shocked by the brick, but even more shocked by the threat attached to the brick.
“It is just so cowardly to express one’s viewpoint with a brick.
“I would happily sit down over a cup of tea with them and discuss their opinions; this attack was so unnecessary.
“The letters gave the impression that the person was religious.
“I do not believe for a moment that this incident was carried out by a Christian. This was a very unchristian and cowardly thing to do.”
Davison said he didn’t feel his life was in danger.
“But it’s wise to move because of the possibility of another attack.
“Even if it is a lone ranger, a lone ranger can be very dangerous. By moving, it removes this threat.
“I will be moved to a safe house and the address kept confidential.
“I’m staying at my friend’s house and it’s not fair that he’s an innocent victim in this.
“I‘m involved in a very sensitive moral issue, which some people do react quite extremely about, so I’ve got to take the abuse that comes with that.
“But it’s not fair that he’s affected, because he isn’t involved in the issue.”
He said he would continue with his campaign to legalise euthanasia despite the threats against his life.
Davison, who works as a professor in UWC’s biotechnology department, said the threats would in fact help him catch the offender.
The police had given him one of the two letters.
“My DNA forensics lab at UWC specialises in obtaining DNA profiles from challenging samples and I am optimistic that we can get a DNA profile of the person who sent these letters.
“If my lab obtains this, we will give it to the New Zealand police.”
Davison’s partner, Raine Pan, said she was concerned for his safety and was looking forward to his safe return.
The couple have two young boys.
“I’m just worried about him.
“In another three months he’ll be home.
“I’m just hoping nothing will happen to him.
“I will be relieved when he comes home.
“The police there are taking it very seriously, so they will hopefully catch them.”