Right-to-die campaigners vow to continue fight despite losing Court of Appeal battle

Paralysed road accident victim Paul Lamb at home in Leeds today. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson's widow and a paralysed road accident victim today pledged to continue their battle for a change in the law to give people who are physically unable to end their own lives the choice of a "dignified and humane" death.

Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson, whose husband died last August after losing a High Court bid to end his life with a doctor's help, spoke of their intention to take their case to the UK's highest court after appeal judges rejected the latest round of their fight over the legal ban on voluntary euthanasia.

ITV News Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall reports:

Former builder and father-of-two Mr Lamb, 57, from Leeds, who wants a doctor to help him die in a dignified way, said he was "absolutely gutted" by the decision, but said he would not give up.

Mr Lamb, who had won the right to join the litigation to continue the action started by Mr Nicklinson, said:

Mr Lamb, who is immobile except for limited movement in his right hand and has been in significant pain since his accident in 1990, added: "No retreat, no surrender, is my motto with all of this."

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, sitting with Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson and Lord Justice Elias, said in a lengthy written ruling following a hearing in May that the law "relating to assisting suicide cannot be changed by judicial decision".

Parliament "represents the conscience of the nation" in life and death issues, he said, adding: "Judges, however eminent, do not; our responsibility is to discover the relevant legal principles, and apply the law as we find it."

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has said it would be "sensible" for the Crown Prosecution Service to seek the views of the Supreme Court before amendments are made to law on right-to-die cases.

Lord Falconer told ITV News that it is up to parliament to legalise assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

The Labour peer is to table a private members bill on the issue.