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Assisted dying campaigner ends life in Switzerland

The former property developer was diagnosed with multiple systems atrophy in 2014 (Dominic Lipinski/PA) Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

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 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.

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.

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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.

“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.”