Case studies

A Death at Dignitas
John Close: 'More like a thing than a human being'

John Close was fit, healthy and very independent until he developed motor neurone disease. As the illness progressed he decided to travel to Dignitas in 2003 to end his life but faced a journey of five hundred miles in great pain and difficulty.

Three Suicides, Three Reasons to Die
Liz Smith's parents: 'We just sat there, waiting for this great moment'

For many years Barbara Smith said she would kill herself if she developed dementia and life became untenable. She committed suicide in 1995. Her widower, Don, was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and found it difficult to cope without complete control over his life and future. He also decided to end his life but his carefully laid plans didn't go well.

Neil Love: 'Time to go while it's my choice'
In 1988 Neil Love's optician spotted cause for concern during a routine examination and hospital scans revealed an epidermoid cyst, deep inside his skull and inoperable. Neil and his wife, Lizzie, moved to a friendly village in Derbyshire's Peak District and enjoyed life while his condition slowly deteriorated. Eventually, in October 2003, Neil decided to end his life without telling Lizzie to protect her from prosecution.

Aiding and Abetting Suicide
Nigel Goodman: 'I am suffering and I want to die'

Heather Pratten discovered to her horror that her husband had Huntington's disease. Two of her sons, Nigel and Phillip, also developed the disease. Although Nigel protested that he was fine, eventually he was unable to cope and decided he no longer wanted to live. Heather sat with him as he consumed drugs given to him by friends but all did not go to plan and Heather later confessed to helping him end his life.

Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking
Efstratia Tuson: 'Talk to the Captain; they can just drop me overboard'

Born in Cairo in 1924, Efstratia Tuson married a British soldier and moved to England. In 2003, during an operation to remove an ovarian cyst, she was found to have a very rare type of cancer. She was constantly in pain and discomfort for several years and, after failing to get an early date from Dignitas, decided to end her life in the only way available to her.

Good Care But a Bad Death
Colin Marriage: 'Another week? I can't do another week!'

Colin was only thirty-nine when he became unwell in 2011. After numerous tests he was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of cancer, given between a month and a year to live, and started on chemotherapy. Colin and his fiancée married in hospital. As his condition detriorated rapidly he pleaded with the doctors to end his life.

A Recent Death at Dignitas
Ron Clinch: 'Want to share this one, Brian?'

Strong-minded and independent, Ron Clinch wanted a peaceful death after suffering with ideopathic pulmonary fibrosis. With the full support of his family and escorted by his brother he set off on the difficult overland journey to Dignitas in 2012. Ron's high oxygen dependence made the journey particularly difficult.