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Noel Conway: Terminally-ill man wins right to bring High Court legal challenge over assisted dying law

Noel Conway (front centre) has said he is not 'prepared to suffer right to the end'. Credit: PA

A man who is terminally ill with motor neurone disease has said he is "delighted" to be given the right to challenge the law on assisted dying.

Retired college lecturer Noel Conway - who is not expected to live beyond 12 months - was initially refused permission to bring a judicial review on the law.

But the High Court in London will now hear his case after the 67-year-old got the go-ahead for the legal challenge from the Court of Appeal.

"Clearly the Court of Appeal has agreed that this is an issue deserving full and proper consideration and I look forward to a full hearing at the High Court," Mr Conway said.

"Having overcome this initial setback in my fight for choice at the end of life, I am more determined than ever to continue."

Noel Conway previously attended court with his wife Carol and stepson Terry McCusker. Credit: PA

Mr Conway, who was diagnosed with the disease in November 2014, said the vast financial and emotional support he had received underlined public support his cause.

"I have the support of my loved ones and many thousands of others behind me; people who have donated over £90,000 towards my legal costs and sent heart-warming messages of encouragement to me and my family," he said.

Mr Conway previously told ITV News waiting for his illness to leave him "like a living zombie" was a "terrifying" prospect.

He said he wanted medication that could end his life to be made available so he did not have to "go through agony and suffering".

The case which will be heard at the High Court differs from that brought by Tony Nicklinson in 2014. Credit: PA

His lawyers said that when he has less than six months to live, and retains the mental capacity to make the decision, "he would wish to be able to enlist assistance to bring about a peaceful and dignified death".

Mr Conway added: "It would allow me to decide when I am ready to go, rather than be forced into a premature death by travelling to Dignitas at great emotional and financial cost, or to suffer a traumatic, drawn out death at home."

Mr Conway's case is different from that brought in 2012 by Tony Nicklinson, who suffered from paralysis after a stroke, as it seeks special circumstances to receive assistance to die for people who are terminally ill.

Tony Nicklinson lost his High Court battle for the legal right to end his life in 2012. Credit: PA

Mr Nicklinson's case was ultimately dismissed by the Supreme Court, which said it was important that Parliament debated the issues before any decision was made by the courts.

Mr Conway's lawyers said both the House of Commons and the House of Lords had now debated the issue, deciding not to offer legal exceptions to the 1961 Suicide Act.

Mr Conway wants a declaration that the 1961 Act is incompatible with Article 8, which relates to respect for private and family life, and Article 14, which protects from discrimination.

The Court of Appeal's Lord Justice McFarlane and Lord Justice Beatson granted permission and remitted Mr Conway's case to the High Court to decide.

The married grandfather, who lives in Shrewsbury, was fit and active before his illness, enjoying hiking, cycling and travelling.

The father-of-three now uses a wheelchair and ventilation equipment and was not in court.