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Briton called for assisted dying to be allowed in UK before Dignitas death

A grandfather called on UK legislators to allow assisted dying before ending his own life at Dignitas.

Advanced multiple sclerosis sufferer Andrew Barclay, 65, died on Thursday after taking a lethal dose of drugs in an apartment near Zurich having travelled to Switzerland with his wife.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the former civil servant, from Folkestone, Kent, said he was concerned that his partner Sandra, 67, may face a police investigation on her return to Britain for helping him fulfil his wish.

"We need a law that makes it a feasible option in Britain," he said.

"It needs to be tightly regulated but why not draw the line where Dignitas has?

"It's not easy to go there, you need medical and psychiatric reports and you need to carry out the final act yourself."

Mr Barclay said it had cost more than £10,000 and taken 14 months of "fighting" to die at Dignitas.

He was diagnosed with MS in 1992 and endured the neurological disease though stages of remission and relapse, at times being unable to get out of bed or swallow.

In 2013 he was told his condition had entered a secondary progressive stage that meant his symptoms would not improve.

Using a wheelchair for three years, he was left devastated that he was unable to lift up his two granddaughters, aged two and four.

Meanwhile his continual struggle with immobility, incontinence and partial blindness meant his mood was unpredictable and often depressed.

He said: "There are still genuine moments of happiness. But they no longer outweigh a life in which every single day is a struggle from start to end. So I have made this decision."

Mrs Barclay said she had been left heartbroken, but added: "If you love someone you don't want to see them suffer."

Under the Suicide Act 1961, anyone helping or encouraging someone to take their own life can be prosecuted and jailed for up to 14 years if found guilty of an offence.

In 2015 MPs including former prime minister David Cameron rejected a Bill to legalise assisted dying, but a second Bill was raised in the House of Lords in June.

Opposition to changing the law has come from faith groups, campaigners who say disabled people may feel pressured to end their lives and campaigners who fear assisted dying would become a business.

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of pro-assisted dying group Dignity in Dying, told the newspaper: "It is a tragic and unacceptable reality that seriously ill people like Andrew feel they have no other choice but to spend their final days travelling hundreds of miles to Switzerland in order to have the dignified death they desire."

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