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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 10:32 GMT
Dying man plans Swiss suicide
Doctor prepares injection
Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK
A man terminally-ill with motor neurone disease has applied to go to Switzerland where laws will allow doctors to help him die.

He is thought to be one of the first UK citizens to take advantage of more relaxed laws on assisted suicide in Switzerland.

Assisted suicide remains illegal in the UK, despite a number of legal challenges.

I don't want to go on living like this

Reginald Crew
Reginald Crew, who is 70, from Hunts Cross, Merseyside, has suffered from the debilitating disease for more than four years.

Motor neurone disease has the effect of a creeping paralysis - for which there is no cure.

'I've had enough'

Mr Crew has applied to an "assisted suicide group" in Switzerland so that a doctor can help him end his life.

Although there is nothing concrete in the Swiss penal code which says that assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, the practice of helping a terminally ill patient to end his or her life is widely considered as a "humane act".

Unless the person helping is proven to be acting out of self seeking motives, prosecution is extremely unlikely.

Mr Crew told the BBC: "I have had motor neurone disease for four years now.

"I don't want to go on living like this. I have had enough.

"I'd like to go tomorrow - I'm that desperate."

He said: "If the Swiss said come this week, or come next week, then I'll go."

However, anti-euthanasia campaigners are opposed to the move.

Court battles

Colin Hart, from the pressure group Alert, told the BBC: "Are we talking about a 'rational' decision here, or simply someone who has a fixed view on what they want?

"I would think it is unreasonable to choose death over life."

The most recent challenge to the laws on assisted suicide came from Diane Pretty, who argued that she had the human right to choose when to die.

Her arguments were rejected in the UK courts and that ruling upheld in Europe.

Mrs Pretty died shortly after her court battle failed.

Another "end-of-life" legal battle surrounded "Miss B", who was granted the "right to die" after a court battle.

The difference between the two was that the death of Diane Pretty would have required the active intervention of doctors, whereas in the case of Miss B, who was paralysed and needed help to breathe, only the withdrawal of existing treatment - which every patient has the right to demand - was required.

See also:

29 Apr 02 | Health
29 Apr 02 | Health
29 Apr 02 | Health
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