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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Psychopath inmate wins right to die
The High Court has given a psychopath jailed for life for murder the right to refuse treatment for self-inflicted wounds that will eventually lead to his death.

The high security prisoner, who can only be identified as W, has been mutilating his right leg since December last year as a protest at the conditions he is kept in.

He has refused to stop even though it has been explained to him that his course of action will result in blood poisoning, septicaemia, gangrene and a painful death.

I have decided once and for all that it is easier for me in the long run to die than suffer the barbaric and inhuman conditions

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, president of the Family Division at the High Court in London, decided at a hearing on Wednesday that W had the capacity to decide whether or not to agree to treatment

She said she was satisfied that he did understand that if he went through with his protest, he would die.

W was originally sent to Broadmoor special hospital after being sentenced two years ago, but he was rejected by doctors there because his aggressive behaviour made him impossible to treat.

He says the conditions he is now being kept in are "barbaric and inhuman " and wants to be sent to another special hospital for prisoners with mental problems.

Speaking via a video link to the court from his jail, where he is guarded by five prison officers and a dog handler, he said: "I am doing this because of the conditions I am kept in.

"I am kept under close supervision and I am banged up 23 hours a day in my cell and have never been given any help with my problems.

'Impossible situation'

"I am poisoning my leg so that the blood poisoning transfers through my body and hopefully kills me."

W, who suffers from a "very severe" mental disorder, said he had been seen by a surgeon who had warned him about the consequences of what he was doing to himself, but had told him he did not want any form of treatment.

Asked by his counsel Mark Mullins what he would do if he was transferred to a special hospital for prisoners with mental problems, he replied: "I would accept any form of treatment they would wish to give me.

"I am on a segregation unit without any education facilities and the only thing to distract me is a radio. I have received no help with my psychiatric problems.

"I have decided once and for all that it is easier for me in the long run to die than suffer the barbaric and inhuman conditions I am going through at the present time."

He said his death would be the responsibility of the Prison Service because they had refused him help with his mental problems.


"I understand I have got problems and I want them addressed so I can lead a normal life but in the situation I am in that is impossible," he added.

Asked by Dame Elizabeth what would happen if he was not transferred to a special hospital, he replied: "I know I will end up dead but in the future other people in my condition might benefit."

He said he wanted to show that the Prison Service was responsible for his fate.

The judge told him that his transfer was not up to the Prison Service but came on the recommendation of doctors.

"Have you thought you might die for nothing?" she said.

"Not for nothing," he replied, adding that he hoped his case would benefit other people "suffering similar conditions".

Solicitor Richard Charlton
"His protest is that he should be in a psychiatric hospital"
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