'Locked-in' man in legal bid for help with suicide
Published 20/07/2010 | 05:00
A man with "locked-in syndrome" who cannot move anything except his head and eyes launched legal proceedings to end his life yesterday.
Tony Nicklinson (56) communicates with the use of a Perspex board and letters, looking, blinking and nodding to spell out words.
He is seeking clarification on the law to make sure if he asks his wife Jane (54) to take direct action so he can die, she will not be prosecuted for murder and given a mandatory life sentence.
Mr Nicklinson is unable to end his life without direct assistance -- unless he starves and dehydrates himself to death.
His legal team wants a judicial review to clarify how the murder law applies in cases of mercy killing.
In a witness statement, Mr Nicklinson, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, said: "I am a 56-year-old man who suffered a catastrophic stroke in June 2005 whilst on a business trip to Athens, Greece. Am I grateful the Athens doctors saved my life? No, I am not. If I had my time again, and knew then what I know now, I would have not called the ambulance but let nature take its course.
"I have no privacy or dignity left. I am washed, dressed and put to bed by carers who are, after all, still strangers. I am fed-up with my life and don't want to spend the next 20 years or so like this."
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said: " There is a difference between assisted dying for terminally ill people, assisted suicide for non-terminally ill people, 'mercy killing' and euthanasia, but the current law fails to reflect this."
The legal team will argue the murder law interferes with Mr Nicklinson's right to respect for his private life.