Woman, 86, starved herself to death

Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A grandmother who starved herself to death said before she died that she had “no alternative” given the UK’s laws against assisted suicide.

Jean Davies died on October 1, five weeks after first embarking on a fast to end her life – even though she was not terminally ill.

The 86-year-old right-to-die campaigner spoke to the Sunday Times during her fast, describing it as “hell” and “intolerable”.

Ms Davies, who said her four children and two grandchildren supported her right to make her own choice on the matter, said no one would choose to die in that way “unless you thought your life was going to be so bad”.

She said she had suffered a range of medical conditions including fainting episodes and chronic back pain.

Last week the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) clarified the law on assisted suicide in the wake of the case of paralysed former builder Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson, the widow of Tony who had suffered locked-in syndrome.

Supreme Court justices ruled against the pair in June, but DPP Alison Saunders said the judges’ ruling allowed a clarity in the law around health care professionals.

She said the likelihood of healthcare professionals being prosecuted depends on their “specific and professional duty of care to the person in question”.

She stressed there is “no immunity” for encouraging or assisting suicide, but right-to-life campaigner Dr Peter Saunders accused her of “decriminalising assisted suicide by doctors and other health care professionals as long as they don’t have an existing professional care relationship with the patient”.

Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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