BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 17:05 GMT
Police investigate suicide man's wife
Reginald Crew and wife Win
Win Crew is to be investigated under British law
Police are to investigate the widow of a man who died after committing assisted suicide in Switzerland.

Reginald Crew, 74, of Hunts Cross, Liverpool, killed himself on Monday after suffering from the debilitating motor-neurone disease for more than four years.

Merseyside Police said on Tuesday it was "obliged" to investigate his wife, Win, under British law.

A spokesperson said: "The decision is not a moral one, it is a legal one.

Legal challenges

"We are putting files together and will be talking to Mrs Crew as part of our inquiries.

"The completed files will then be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service who will decide if charges should be brought.

"Consultation has already taken place between ourselves, the CPS and the Coroner's Office in Liverpool on the matter."

Helping someone to commit suicide is illegal in Britain, despite a number of legal challenges.

Former docker Mr Crew was the first UK citizen to take advantage of the more relaxed Swiss laws.

'Humane act'

He died just after 1400 GMT on Monday after taking a fatal dose of barbiturates prepared by a doctor.

Mr Crew faced creeping paralysis if he remained alive and killed himself with the help of the "assisted suicide group" Dignitas in Switzerland.

Swiss law does not state that assisted suicide is legal but the practice is widely considered as a "humane act".

Prosecution is extremely unlikely unless the person helping is proven to be acting out of self-seeking motives.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Mrs Crew does command a lot of sympathy from a lot of people"
  The BBC's Jonathan Hallewell
"The CPS need to establish if there has been a criminal act"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Talking Point: Assisted suicideRight to die
Can assisted suicide be justified?

Click here to go to Liverpool
See also:

21 Jan 03 | England
20 Jan 03 | England
20 Jan 03 | Europe
12 Aug 02 | Newsnight
20 Aug 01 | J-M
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes