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CHANGE NEEDED: Police commissioner urges assisted dying amendment after Geoff Whaley incident

 Published on: 23rd November 2019   |   By: News Desk   |   Category: Uncategorized

The police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley has called for the law to change around assisted dying.

Anthony Stansfeld is one of PCCs to have signed an open letter calling for the Ministry of Justice to launch a “call for evidence” in relation to the law.

This letter comes after his officers had to question a heartbroken widow from Chalfont St Peter, Ann Whaley, for supporting her husband’s decision to die at Dignitas in Switzerland. 

In February Geoff Whaley, 80, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, travelled to the European country to end his life after being told he would only have six to nine months to live. 

The letter calls for a renewed look at the existing law on assisted dying and, despite people’s differences in opinion on the matter, it states that the current system isn’t working and looks to seek an inquiry to confirm that. 

Mr Stansfield said: “I felt it was important that I signed this open letter calling for changes in the law surrounding assisted dying.

“It is an emotive subject but recent high profile cases have again shown that the current law can unnecessarily prolong great suffering to both the patient and their close family. It needs to be looked at again.”

The campaign has been led on behalf of Ron Hogg, the police, crime and victims commissioner for Durham, who has motor neurone disease and is calling for the law to be changed to allow him to end his own life.

In the UK, helping someone commit suicide is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Sarah Wootton, who is chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said she welcomed the letter. 

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