No prosecution over death of man by assisted suicide
LEGAL action will not be taken over the case of a Weston- super-Mare man who is thought to have died as a result of an assisted suicide.
Avon & Somerset Police have confirmed they and the Crown Prosecution Service are no longer investigating the death of 64-year-old Terry Martin of Uphill.
Mr Martin, a well known businessman who established Uphill Motors, is understood to have travelled to an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland last year to end his life.
Close friends say he had suffered poor health for years with pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas and diabetes.
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It is still unclear whether anyone accompanied him to Switzerland and Mr Martin's wife Julie declined to comment on her husband's death.
The 1961 Suicide Act makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the suicide of another and those breaking the law face a jail term of up to 14 years.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer set out new guidelines last February over whether people would face prosecution over assisting suicide.
The guidelines set out a range of factors to be taken into account when deciding whether or not to prosecute.
They include whether the person who died had made an informed decision; whether the person who assisted them had acted out of compassion, or whether they had tried to change their mind about the suicide.
The guidelines said that prosecution was more likely if the person who died did not have mental capacity and the person who assisted them would have gained from their death.
The CPS in London has considered the files produced by police to see whether a prosecution will take place and decided no further action is necessary.
Police spokesman Martin Dunscombe, said: "The police inquiry into the death of Terence Martin from Uphill has now been completed and the Crown Prosecution Service has decided that there will be no further action taken in respect of this incident."
More than 100 Britons with terminal or incurable illnesses have gone to the Swiss centre Dignitas to die, but as yet none of the relatives and friends have been prosecuted.
Jo Carthwright, a spokesman for Dignity in Dying, said: "While dignity in dying advocates a change in the law to allow assisted dying to terminally ill, mentally competent adults only, such a law would benefit all people considering taking their own lives due to ill health as it would allow open dialogue between patients and health professionals about assisted dying. Had Mr Martin been able to discuss his desire to die with his doctor, any unmet physical or social needs would have been identified and he may not have felt forced to travel abroad to die in unfamiliar surroundings, potentially alone."