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Geoff Whaley: ‘By the time you read this, I’ll be dead’

 Published on: 7th February 2019   |   By: Jake Levison   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Chalfont St Peter man who went to Switzerland to end his life published an emotional letter just moments before he died.

Retired accountant Geoff Whaley, 80, chose to die in Zurich, rather than face “immense suffering me and my family have experienced” in the final stages of his life as he battled motor neurone disease, which has become terminal.

The grandfather-of-four, died peacefully in his wife’s arms, and surrounded by family and friends on February 7.

Moments before he passed away at the Dignitas clinic, he posted a haunting letter to the government, calling for a change in the law.

In the letter, he revealed how he sobbed for the first time in five decades when his wife was grilled by police for helping him die, which he blasted, saying: “the hypocrisy and cruelty of this is astounding.’

Mr Whaley wanted assisted suicide to be made legal in the UK after his wife of 52 years, Ann, was interviewed under caution a week before he died and she was warned she faces 14 years in prison.

Mr Whaley was diagnosed with motor neurone disease two years ago and in December doctors told him that he had six to nine months left.

He has left letters for his four grandchildren, aged four to 17.

Mrs Whaley booked the flights to Switzerland and a hotel because her husband can no longer use his hands.

Before he died he wrote a letter to government.

In that letter he said: “By the time you read this, I’ll be dead.

“I will have taken medication that will end my life, surrounded by my wife, Ann, my children, Alix and Dominic, and a couple of my dearest friends at the Dignitas facility in Switzerland. With their love and support I have been able to fulfil my final wish: to be in control of my own end, rather than endure the suffering motor neurone disease had in store for me. 

“I want to impress upon you the anguish me and my family have experienced, not because of this awful illness (though of course this has been incredibly difficult), but because of the law against assisted dying in this country.

“No family should ever have to endure the torment we have undergone in recent weeks.”

Mr Whaley was supported by the charity Dying in Dignity who campaign for assisted suicide. The letter can be read in full at dignityindying.org.uk

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