A RETIRED lecturer said yesterday that his only option now is to effectively suffocate to death' after losing a legal fight over the right-to-die.
Noel Conway, 67, feels entombed' by motor neurone disease, with which he was diagnosed nearly three years ago.
When he has less than six months to live and retains the mental capacity to make a decision, he wants to enlist help from doctors to bring about a peaceful and dignified' death. But the law means that anyone who helped him would be committing a criminal offence.
Conway, who is dependent on a ventilator, wanted a declaration from judges that the Suicide Act which criminalises those who assist a suicide was in violation of his human rights.
But Lord Justice Sales, Justice Whipple and Justice Garnham rejected his case at the High Court in London yesterday. Lawyers for Conway, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, had argued that his right to an assisted death was protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom from state interference in one's private life.
But lawyers for Justice Secretary David Lidington, while admitting that the law did impinge on his rights, argued that cases such as Mr Conway's were examples of exceptions where this infringement could be justified.
In yesterday's ruling, Lord Justice Sales said the current law was a fair balance between the interests of the wider community and the interests of people in Conway's position.
In a statement after the judgment, Conway, who was not in court, said he would appeal against the ruling.
This decision denies me a real say over how and when I will die,' he said. I am told the only option I have is to effectively suffocate to death by choosing to remove my ventilator, which I am now dependent on to breathe for up to 22 hours a day. There is no way of knowing how long it would take me to die if I did this.'
© Daily Mail