1. ITV Report

Locked-in syndrome sufferer denied right to die

Tony Nicklinson vowed to appeal a ruling against him. Photo: Family photo

Locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson has lost his High Court battle to have a doctor end his life without fear of prosecution.

Victory in the landmark right-to-die case would have altered the UK's murder laws.

A second locked-in syndrome sufferer, referred to only as "Martin", 47, also lost his challenge to the legal ban on assisted dying.

ITV News Reporter Emily Morgan was with Mr Nicklinson when he received the news:

Mr Nicklinson, who was left paralysed by a catastrophic stroke seven years ago, appealed for a change in law as he is unable to take his own life.

He wanted a doctor who gives him a fatal dose to have a "common law defence of necessity" against any possible murder charge.

But three judges at London's High Court unanimously agreed that it would be wrong for the court to depart from the long-established legal position that "voluntary euthanasia is murder, however understandable the motives may be".

Responding to the judgement, Mr Nicklinson,58, from Melksham in Wiltshire, tweeted:

It's not the result I was hoping for but it isn't entirely unexpected. Judges, like politicians, are happiest when they can avoid confronting the real issues and this judgement is not an exception to the rule.

I believe the legal team acting on my behalf is prepared to go all the way with this but unfortunately for me it means yet another period of physical discomfort, misery and mental anguish while we find out who controls my life - me or the state.

The judges ruled that the current law did not breach human rights and it was for Parliament, not the courts, to decide whether it should be changed.

Shortly afterwards, Paul Bowen QC, representing Mr Nicklinson, confirmed - as expected - that he will appeal the High Court's ruling.

Less than an hour before the judges' verdict was announced, Mr Nicklinson's family launched a petition to support his right to die.

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