Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 12:57 UK

Author attacks suicide guidance

Sir Terry Pratchett
Sir Terry was diagnosed with Alzheimer's two years ago

The fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett has criticised new guidelines on assisted suicide.

Guidance from the director of public prosecutions said a range of factors would be considered in such cases.

These include whether there was a financial motive, and looking into how the decision to die was made.

The Wiltshire-based writer, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago, said the guidelines had "made me a bit more angry".

The Discworld series author told the BBC Politics Show West: "No-one is happy with them [the guidelines].

"It would appear they are suggesting that people could help you commit suicide, and then the police would investigate as an act of murder.

It is not nice and I do not wish to be there for the endgame
Sir Terry on his condition

"The police would then decide whether or not this was the case, which seems a very lame way of doing things."

Sir Terry went on to explain that he had his own ideas about how people wanting to kill themselves should be dealt with.

"I have suggested that there should be possibly some kind of non-aggressive tribunal system where someone who, for whatever reasons wishes to end their life - and I would only really accept medical reasons, I must say - can make their points to a magistrate or a coroner along with the medical evidence on which they wish to end their life.

"I believe that the reason I wish to end my life is because of a medical condition - it's not bad yet but it will eventually get very bad and Alzheimer's is the most feared disease among the over-60s.

"It is not nice and I do not wish to be there for the endgame.

"I spoke to a doctor who told me that when he was a young doctor he once walked through a ward of terminal Alzheimer's patents who effectively were not there any more, and he wondered why they were being kept alive when there was very little there to keep alive."

The guidance does not represent a change in the law.

Assisting suicide is illegal and carries a jail term of up to 14 years.

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