In his own words, Tony Nicklinson tells the Wiltshire Times why he wants to see voluntary active euthanasia made legal in the UK . . .

My name is Tony Nicklinson. I expect you know something about me, but for those that don’t, I have locked-in syndrome. I am paralysed below the neck and unable to speak as the result of a stroke in 2005, although my mind is undamaged.

Assisted dying aims to help those who can’t take their own life (voluntary active euthanasia) or those who can but want help (assisted suicide). I want to talk about euthanasia because I need someone else to kill me lawfully and that requires the law of murder to recognise the compassionate nature of this form of killing and not to treat it the same as ordinary murder.

It is important to me, because if I win my case in the courts, heard last week, it will mean I have a pain-free death where and when I want. If I lose, I can look forward to an increasingly miserable life until I die of natural causes or take my own life by starvation.

Opponents like Kevin Fitzpatrick [from campaign group Not Dead Yet], Dr Peter Saunders [campaign director of Care Not Killing] and Lord Falconer [who chaired the Commission on Assisted Dying] will argue that it would be unwise to remove protection enjoyed by the vulnerable. This is a strange thing to say, though, because the legislation affording the protection is the 1961 Suicide Act and that remains untouched by my case.

Kevin will paint an apocalyptic vision of the future, based on unlawful killing in Holland. If the stories he tells are true, he fails to explain why we would want to adopt a flawed system when instead we could learn from the Dutch mistakes.

Peter will tell you that winning my case will change the doctor- patient relationship. Rubbish. The overwhelming majority of doctors won’t see any difference because any desire for euthanasia will be driven by the patient, not his doctor, and only a small number of volunteer doctors will be to licensed perform this work.

Lord Falconer will tell you that it’s too dangerous to change the law, but is unable to say what these dangers are. Presumably it is killing someone who wanted to stay alive, although how that might come about is (conveniently) left unsaid.

It’s a matter of choice. Everybody, regardless of physical ability, should have the choice of committing suicide or not and be given help if they want it. The development of effective safeguards in the 21st Century should not pose a problem.