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Melksham man's right-to-die case hearing begins at The High Court
The High Court hearing of Melksham man Tony Nicklinson’s campaign for a right-to-die is beginning today.
Mr Nicklinson, 58, is paralysed after suffering a stroke in 2005 and has locked-in syndrome.
He can only move his eyes and communicates using eye movements.
He says he finds his life intolerable, but because of his disability is unable to take his own life and is seeking legal protection for any doctor who helps him to die.
Before the stroke Mr Nicklinson was an outgoing, energetic and active man, with a passion for rugby and extreme sports.
His case is opposed by the Ministry of Justice which argues any such ruling would profoundly change the murder laws.
This week Mr Nicklinson joined social networking site Twitter, and already has 25,000 followers, many tweeting him messages of support.
Last night Mr Nicklinson, a married father of two, was the subject of a moving Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.
The programme showed how he is cared for around the clock by his wife Jane with the help of nurses, and showed him debating Lord Falconer, who chaired the Commission on Assisted Dying.
He says that without the possibility of the choice of a way out, he is being condemmed to a miserable existence.
Mr Nicklinson said: "It cannot be acceptable in 21st century Britain that I am denied the right to take my own life just because I am physically handicapped.
"We are all individuals and each person deserves an individual solution to his particular circumstances.
"A one-size-fits-all solution of better care and more of it, such as opponents advocate, is clearly not the answer. The option of assisted dying should be available."
Mr Nicklinson's legal team will argue for doctors to be protected by a legal defence of necessity against a murder prosecution, arguing that their intervening is the only way to end his suffering.
The hearing is due to last four days, with a ruling to come at a later date.
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