British locked-in syndrome sufferer dies

A British man who suffered from locked-in syndrome has died days after losing a legal bid to end his life of “pure torture”, his lawyers said Wednesday.

By (AFP)

Published: Wed 22 Aug 2012, 5:39 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:53 AM

Tony Nicklinson, 58, was left paralysed by a catastrophic stroke while on a business trip to Athens in 2005.

On August 16, he lost a court bid to end his life after High Court judges unanimously agreed that it would be wrong to depart from a precedent that equates voluntary euthanasia with murder.

After the ruling Nicklinson broke down in tears, saying he was “devastated” by the decision.

His lawyers Bindmans LLP said Nicklinson passed away on Wednesday, six days after the decision.

Wiltshire Police said they were not involved in dealing with the death and neither was the coroner, suggesting it was not suspicious.

“He has been visited regularly by the doctor and the doctor will be signing the death certificate,” a spokesman said.

A statement from one of Nicklinson’s daughters on his Twitter account read: “You may already know, my Dad died peacefully this morning of natural causes. He was 58.”

A later message from his family read: “Thank you for your support over the years. We would appreciate some privacy at this difficult time. Love, Jane, Lauren and Beth”.

In a statement issued by his lawyer after the ruling last week, Nicklinson said: “I thought that if the court saw me as I am, utterly miserable with my life, powerless to do anything about it because of my disability then the judges would accept my reasoning that I do not want to carry on and should be able to have a dignified death.

“I am saddened that the law wants to condemn me to a life of increasing indignity and misery.”

Three judges described the case as “deeply moving and tragic”, and Nicklinson’s predicament as “terrible”.

But they unanimously agreed that it would be wrong for the court to depart from the long-established legal position that “voluntary euthanasia is murder, however understandable the motives may be”.

They ruled that the current law did not breach human rights and it was for parliament, not the courts, to decide whether it should be changed.

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