An incurably-ill man has ended his life in a clinic in Switzerland, according to two campaign groups who supported his UK legal challenge.
The 54 year-old man, who can only be identified as Omid T, died at a Lifecircle clinic on Thursday morning, Humanists UK and My Death-My Decision (MDMD) said.
The Iranian-born former property developer was diagnosed with multiple systems atrophy in 2014 and was effectively bed bound for more than two years.
The rare nervous system disorder causes problems with balance, movement, and the autonomic nervous system which controls functions including breathing and bladder control.
Omid was awaiting the outcome of a legal challenge launched in March 2017 against the UK’s ban on assisted dying.
The father-of-three launched an appeal on Crown Justice in a bid to help fund a change in the law.
“The law on assisted dying in the UK is cruel and unjust,” he said.
“It stops me, and many like me, from having a safe and painless death at home in England.”
The first signs of illness were his speech becoming slurred and when he spoke on his mobile, the person on the other end of the line couldn’t understand him, he explained
He also began to experience difficulty in walking, writing and with other tasks.
Omid said he was been confined to bed, has to wear a catheter bag and required constant care. He tried to kill himself in 2015.
“I could have several miserable years ahead of me,” he said.
“I have lost the will to carry on with a wretched existence without joy and pleasure.
“I cannot do anything for myself. What sort of life is this and who would want it?”
He found life with his condition “intolerable”, his barrister told a previous High Court hearing.
Paul Bowen QC told a hearing in March: “Due to the unbearable suffering caused by his deteriorating physical condition, which cannot be cured or alleviated, life has become intolerable to him,” and as a result, Omid wished to end his life.
Phil Cheatle, coordinator of MDMD, said: “Omid faced a tragic situation.
“Omid faced potentially many more years of increased suffering. All Omid wanted was a peaceful end, given his hopeless situation.
“Sufferers like Omid deserve the option of a medically assisted death if that is their well-considered, persistent choice, when there are no other acceptable alternatives.”
Humanists UK paid tribute to their member, and also called for a change in the law on assisted dying in the UK.
Chief executive Andrew Copson said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of our member Omid T, who ended his life with medical assistance at Lifecircle in Switzerland today.
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“It is a tragedy, and also a national scandal, that Omid had to go to Switzerland to die with dignity.
“His desire was for a peaceful ending to his life here in England and his case underscores the need for our Parliament to allow people in his position the dignity of choice in their own country.
“Our deepest condolences are with his family, friends, and everyone else who was touched by his life.”
Earlier this year, British-born scientist David Goodall ended his life at the Life Circle aged 104.
He did not have a terminal illness but as he secured a fast-track appointment with the assisted dying agency after saying he “deeply regrets” living so long.
The botanist enjoyed a final meal of fish and chips followed by cheesecake before taking a fatal does of the sleeping drug Nembutal.