86-year-old right-to-die campaigner starves herself to death

The law on assisted suicide leaves those wanting to end their lives with few options

A 86-year-old grandmother who died five weeks after setting out to starve herself said before she died that she had "no alternative" given the legal barriers to assisted suicide.

Jean Davies, who was not terminally ill but suffered from a range of medical conditions including fainting episodes and chronic back pain, died on October 1.

Her doctor had agreed to alleviate the symptoms of starvation and dehydration.

Speaking to the Sunday Times before she died, Ms Davies said: “I am doing nothing wrong. We are not breaking the law. What alternative do I have? The other methods, to my knowledge, are either illegal or I would need to go to [the Dignitas clinic in] Switzerland, and I want to die in my own bed.”

The right-to-die campaigner's four children and two grandchildren supported her decision, she said.

Ms Davies stopped drinking water on September 16 and her daughter Bronwen, 64, a nurse, said her mother was frustrated that it took her two weeks to die: "She hadn’t realised that it would take her so long ... she thought it might take three days."

Four weeks into her fast Ms Davies said: “It is hell. I can’t tell you how hard it is. You wouldn’t decide this unless you thought your life was going to be so bad. It is intolerable.”