24/07/2012 06:48 BST | Updated 24/07/2012 11:18 BST

Gary McKinnon Extradition: Theresa May To Decide Computer Hacker's Fate By Mid-October

The Home Secretary will decide by mid October whether or not to order computer hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US, the High Court was told on Tuesday.

gary mckinnon

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon at the High Court

McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp made an emotional appeal outside court for Theresa May "to show a little bit of compassion" and make an earlier decision.

The announcement follows the 46-year-old's refusal last week to undergo further medical tests by a Home Office-appointed expert during his battle to avoid his removal.

The US authorities want McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, to face trial for hacking into military computers 10 years ago.

He could face a jail sentence of up to 60 years if convicted.

Ms Sharp said her son's life and that of his family was being "destroyed" by the case. "She could have made a decision before the Olympics. The evidence is there that Gary is unfit for trial and a considerable suicide risk. We need this decision. This delay is wrong - morally wrong."

McKinnon suffers from Asperger syndrome - a high-functioning form of autism - and admits to what one US lawyer called "the biggest military computer hack of all time", but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "This is a complex case, in a complex area of the law, and a large amount of material has been submitted, some of it relatively recently.

"The Home Secretary needs to consider all the material carefully before making a decision."