Her speech had gone but her smile said it all... Jackie Baker was ready to go

Jackie before the disease Credit: Tara O'Reilly & Rose Baker

Most of us will have known someone with a terminal illness, some of us may have been there at the moment of passing but few will know anyone who has travelled to a foreign country to end their life.

When I first met Jackie Baker in the summer of 2015 motor neurone disease was already taking its cruel toll. Her speech was failing, her arms and legs refusing to move. Things were only going to get worse.

Jackie loved to paint, take photos and generally have a good time but the good times were coming to an end. One of the few simple pleasures left was listening to music by Bob Marley.

Jackie was in the news because her daughters were trying to raise money to send her to Dignitas in Switzerland. She had agreed to talk to me about it. Her body was failing but this was a lady who knew her own mind.

I'm trapped in a body, I can hardly do a thing

– Jackie Baker
Jackie the day before she died Credit: Tara O'Reilly & Rose Baker

"I'm trapped in a body, I can hardly do a thing" she told me. The decision to end her life in the Swiss clinic came the day her doctor confirmed she had motor neurone disease. Her mother had died from it and Jackie was determined she wouldn't.

I've met a number of people who strongly disagree with her plans but she didn't care what other people thought. She only cared for what her daughters, Tara and Rose, thought.

They hated the idea of Dignitas but Jackie was persistent. As she got worse and kept asking to go, they had a change of heart: they would lose their mother but this way she was in control.

Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK. Anyone found guilty faces a maximum 14 years in jail. Tara and Rose know they could face serious consequences.

Campaigners opposed to assisted dying outside Parliament Credit: ITV Wales

Parliament said no to legalising assisted dying in September. Many disabled groups are against it and so are many doctors. They say they should care for people not kill them.

One of the biggest critics of it is Baroness Ilora Finlay from Cardiff. She rejects the notion that helping someone to die is compassionate.

By last Monday Jackie's time to go to Switzerland had come.

She left Swansea early in the morning. The plan was originally to fly to Zurich but that was clearly impossible for such an ill person. Instead they went by train and there were problems along the way.

Jackie travelling by train across Europe. It was an uncomfortable journey. Credit: Tara O'Reilly & Rose Baker

First they missed the Eurostar train they had booked. For a moment they thought they couldn't get another but a solution was found.

When they reached Paris they had to find a taxi to take them from end of the city to another. It wasn't easy for a lady in a wheelchair and in Jackie's condition.

At times it looked impossible. Jackie was in pain and there was a real prospect they would be stuck somewhere on the continent.

Around 18 hours after they left Wales they arrived in Switzerland. Her daughter described the journey as "horrific".

Jackie's last full day alive was Tuesday. It was time for the family and time to prepare for what came on Wednesday morning.

I didn't know what to expect from Dignitas but its location was a surprise.

It's a small, box shaped, two storey building on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Zurich.

The only distinguishing feature is its blue colour.

This was Dignitas and it looked like the kind of building you get car tyres fitted.

Next door was a cafe. It was a normal location for an surreal purpose.

Dignitas near Zurich Credit: ITV Wales

Jackie, Tara and Rose arrived at the clinic around 10am and she was lowered from the back of a minibus.

Jackie's speech had gone but her smile said it all, she was ready to go. I

Inside there was time for a few final photographs.

Final photograph with Rose, Jackie and Tara Credit: Tara O'Reilly & Rose Baker
Jackie and younger daugher Rose Credit: Tara O'Reilly & Rose Baker

The plan had been for Jackie to die at 11am but she was in a hurry. She kept asking: "Can I do it now?"

As her arms wouldn't move she couldn't physically drink the solution that would kill her. Instead the process began when she pressed a button at the end of the bed with her foot.

Jackie Baker died at around 10.30 am on November 4th. She was 59 years old. Bob Marley was playing in the background.

Jackie Baker in Dignitas moments before she ended her life Credit: Tara O'Reilly & Rose Baker

Many will be appalled that Jackie Baker and her family have done this, others will be appalled that they had to go to Switzerland to do this.

It is a topic which is emotive and sparks passions on both sides but when I ask Tara and Rose how they are feeling after Jackie has gone they both say: "We'd do it again."

Jackie's story will be featured in a special episode of Wales This Week, tonight at 8pm on ITV Wales.

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