High Court hears paralysed Melksham man doesn't want to live a life of 'pure torture' for next 20 years (From Wiltshire Times)
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High Court hears paralysed Melksham man doesn't want to live a life of 'pure torture' for next 20 years
9:15am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Melksham
Melksham locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson's existence of "pure torture" could continue for another 20 years or more if he does not win the right to end his life when he chooses, the High Court has heard.
Paul Bowen QC, for 58-year-old Mr Nicklinson told three judges hearing his landmark "right-to-die" case: "Tony has now had almost seven years to contemplate his situation.
"With the continuing benefits of 21st century health and social care his life expectancy can be expected to be normal - another 20 years or more. He does not wish to live that life."
Mr Nicklinson, who suffered a catastrophic stroke in 2005 while on a business trip to Athens, sums up his existence as "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable".
A "very active and outgoing" man before the stroke, which left him paralysed below the neck and unable to speak, he now communicates by blinking or with limited head movement.
Mr Nicklinson, who wants a doctor to be able lawfully to end his life without fear of prosecution, describes how he has no "privacy or dignity left", and says that what he objects to is having his right to choose taken away from him.
Mr Bowen told Lord Justice Toulson, Mr Justice Royce and Mrs Justice Macur that he was being condemned to live in a state of suffering and indignity by the current law of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The law was "anomalous and discriminatory" and had not stopped the "widespread practice of euthanasia, but has forced it underground".
The hearing was attended by Mr Nicklinson's wife Jane, 56, and the couple's daughters Lauren, 24, and Beth, 23, who all support his decision.
Mr Bowen said Lauren described her father as being "forced to live an existence trapped in a broken body, following someone else's rules, rules that he cannot abide by. He is living a life he does not wish to live. This is pure torture for him".