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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Dying man abandons hunger strike
Phil Such and Sheryn
Phil Such's carer Sheryn has become his partner
A dying journalist has given up a hunger strike he started in protest at the UK's ban on assisted suicide.

Motor neurone disease sufferer Phil Such, 37, had not eaten for three weeks and had had no liquid for four days.


I still believe it should be my right to choose and it's only the minority that's preventing the majority from allowing people to be able to choose

Phil Such
He wanted to stimulate further public debate about assisted suicide.

He believes the current ban prevents him from being able to choose his own destiny.

However, Mr Such decided to eat and drink again because the headaches, nausea and cramps he had begun to suffer were causing distress to his loved ones.

The former journalist from Wrington, Somerset, is being looked after by his partner and carer, Sheryn Alexander.

Emotional

He said the physical pain and the pain of seeing friends and family feeling helpless was "impossible".

"At first I was very emotional and I felt I had let myself down but then realised I had done my best," he said.

"I still believe it should be my right to choose and it's only the minority that's preventing the majority from allowing people to be able to choose."

The former rugby player was diagnosed in October 2000, three years after his mother, Marion, died of the illness after a 14-month struggle in 1997.

Despite his rapidly weakening state, Mr Such has now started to write a book about his life with his partner.

Mr Such said he hoped to write 50,000 words before he dies and will leave the last chapter to Sheryn.

Prime Minister protest

He has written to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to tell him about his protest against life in a "straightjacket of frustration."

Motor neurone disease is destroying his ability to speak or move.

Mr Such told the BBC when he began his hunger strike: "I do not want a long, lingering death.

"Either you die under sedation, which is a huge loss of dignity, or you ride it out till the end, lose all my mobility and power of speech, and then choke to death.

"That should not happen in a humane 21st century society."

See also:

25 Feb 02 | England
20 Aug 01 | J-M
12 May 02 | Health
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