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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
No action over assisted suicide
Paul Bennett
Paul Bennett died at a Swiss clinic in May this year
No action will be taken against family and friends of a terminally-ill man who died in an assisted suicide.

Paul Bennett, 47, from Swansea, who had motor neurone disease, chose to die from lethal injection at a clinic in Switzerland in May this year.

South Wales Police launched an inquiry following his death.

But the force said it had been advised by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that no further action should be taken on public interest grounds.

Mr Bennett, who had a wife and a 10-year-old son, suffered from motor neurone disease - a progressive fatal condition that causes muscle wastage.

I was profoundly moved by the closeness and love that Paul's family and friends had for him
Peter Azzopardi, South Wales Police

Members of Mr Bennett's family travelled with him to a clinic in Switzerland, where assisted death is legal in many cases.

An investigation took place into the actions of Mr Bennett's family and a friend who helped him travel to Switzerland.

But police said on Monday that the CPS had decided not to take any further action.

Det Ch Insp Peter Azzopardi, head of Swansea CID, said: "This case has evoked a variety of comments within the media with arguments being put forward in respect of both sides of the debate concerning assisted death.

"I was profoundly moved by the closeness and love that Paul's family and friends had for him and one can understand the dilemma they faced in such tragic circumstances.

"I would ask that his family and friends are allowed to grieve him and move forward with their lives.

"I fully support the Crown Prosecution Service's decision."

'Law is an ass'

Mr Bennett's father, Roy Bennett, who was one of those interviewed by police, said the last few months had been extremely difficult for the family.

"The relief we feel now it's all over is tremendous," he said.

While full of praise for the way police handled the inquiry, he still wants to see the law changed in the UK.

"The law is an ass. They're not prepared to accept that there can be many, many reasons for change," he said.

"If in our suffering we can point someone in the right direction which will help maybe change the law, that would be our one hope, that Paul's passing has achieved something."

He believed people were entitled to hold their own opinions on assisted suicide, but said: "I wouldn't wish the person with these opinions to go through what we have gone through and what my son and his wife and family went through.

"If they could possibly bring themselves to understand that there are situations where there is no cure for a person - why allow them to suffer extreme pain?

"When I say he's at rest, I wonder what would have been his decision if he'd realised that we were being persecuted through his end.

"We have had some detrimental remarks made on it, some from the medical profession, sadly to say."

Mr Bennett added the family could now get on with their lives and remember Paul "at his better days, not in his worse days".


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