Widow campaigns for changes to assisted dying laws

The widow of assisted dying campaigner, Geoffrey Whaley, hopes a recent debate in parliament is a positive step forward for assisted dying laws here in the UK.

Geoffrey Whaley was 80 when he died at Dignitas, a non-profit members' society who provides assisted dying services in Switzerland. He had motor neurone disease. In the final weeks of his life, he became a campaigner for a change in the law to allow assisted dying in the UK.

Currently, helping someone take their own life is illegal in the UK and punishable by up to 14 years in jail. Geoffrey had organised the appointment at the clinic far in advance, but being paralysed, needed his wife Ann to book the flights and hotel. It was because of that, in their final few days together, the police arrived after an anonymous call. A week later, the crown prosecution service dropped the charges, and the stress made the family determined to stop others going through a similar ordeal.

Before Geoffrey Whaley passed away, he met with MPs to express his adamant wish that the law should be changed to make assisted dying legal here.

Ann, Geoffrey's widow, explained "I had to leave him in a foreign country, lying in a bed with people who didn't speak the same language, and I had to go onto a plane and come home to an empty house. That was the hardest part."

His family are continuing what he started and hope the debate in Westminster provides an opportunity to put the case forward for an update to legislation.

Geoffrey Whaley campaigned for assisted dying laws to be changed here in the UK.