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'Locked-in' Syndrome Sufferer Dies After Losing Legal Bid to End Life

by Thilaka Ravi on August 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM
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'Locked-in' Syndrome Sufferer Dies After Losing Legal Bid to End Life

A man suffering from 'locked-in' syndrome after a massive stroke left him paralyzed, has passed away days after losing a legal bid to end his life of 'pure torture', his lawyers announced Wednesday.

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

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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 told AFP that Nicklinson passed away on Wednesday, six days after the decision. It is understood that he died of natural causes, with his law firm stating on its website that he passed away at approximately 10am Wednesday morning.
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A further statement will be issued by the firm later on.

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 sitting in London described the case as "deeply moving and tragic", and Nicklinson's predicament as "terrible".

However the judges 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.

Nicklinson's wife Jane, standing by her tearful husband at their home in Melksham, Wiltshire, last week described the decision as "one-sided".

"You can see from Tony's reaction he's absolutely heartbroken," she said.

At the time she said they would appeal the decision. Asked what would happen if the appeal fails, she said: "Tony either has to carry on like this until he dies from natural causes or by starving himself."

Nicklinson suffered from catastrophic physical disabilities, but his mental processes were unimpaired and he was fully conscious of his predicament.

Source: AFP
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