Tony Nicklinson, 58, from Melksham, Wiltshire, paralysed from the neck down since a stroke in 2005, has lost his High Court case to allow doctors to end his life without any threat of prosecution.
Nicklison communicates by blinking and describes his life as a “living nightmare”. He was devastated by the court’s decision and will appeal against the decision. His case went further than previous challenges to the law in England and Wales on assisted suicide and murder. He has two children and was left paralysed with locked-in syndrome after a nearly fatal stroke while on a business trip to Athens.
“Although I didn’t want to raise my hopes, it happened anyway because a fantastic amount of work went into my case and 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.”
In Nicklinson’s case, he is unable to take lethal drugs even if someone prepared for him. Someone needs to give him the drug, which would amount to murder. This makes his case different from other assisted suicide cases.
The rulings were welcomed by the organization SPUC Pro-Life. According to Paul Tully from the group, “Compassion and solidarity are the humane and caring responses to locked-in syndrome. To legalise killing of those who are suffering would adversely affect many, many people. We trust that today’s judgment will help end the insidious campaign in the British courts to change the law on assisted suicide and euthanasia.”