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Paralysed man seeks to establish right to die

12 March 2012

A man paralysed by a stroke is seeking a legal ruling that a doctor should be able to kill him at his request without being charged with murder.

Tony Nicklinson (58), from Melksham in Wiltshire, has had "locked-in syndrome" since the stroke in 2005. The condition leaves the mind intact but paralyses the body, apart from eye movements. Mr Nicklinson, who communicates through an electronic board, or "eye blink" computer, describes his life as "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable".

At the High Court in London he is asking for declarations that a doctor could intervene to end his "indignity" and have a "common law defence of necessity" against any murder charge.

This morning Mr Justice Charles allowed his case to go to a full hearing, including medical evidence, rejecting an application by the Ministry of Justice to have the case struck out on the ground that only Parliament can change the law on murder.

The case goes beyond other decisions on assisted suicide because Mr Nicklinson would be unable to take any part in actions to end his life.

The judge said there was an arguable case both on the necessity point and separately under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which recognises the right to respect for private and family life.



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