Wife of Falmouth man who took his own life calls for change in suicide law
12:07pm Thursday 20th September 2012 in News
THE DEVASTATED wife of a terminally ill man who chose to take his own life alone rather than let her face prosecution has called for a change in the law.
Anne Hobkinson told the Packet he experiences had left her believing the law should change to allow terminally ill people the right to die following the death of her husband of 40 years, Tom. She said: “At one time 40 or 50 years ago abortion was considered something beyond the pale, and you could only have one if two doctors signed a statement saying the pregnancy would be harmful either physically or mentally.
“I honestly feel euthanasia should be treated the same way now.
“If two doctors agree that there is no hope of a cure and that your condition is terminal you should have the choice of taking something that will send you to sleep and let you die peacefully.
“It is everybody’s right to have that opportunity.
“If anybody was forced to witness anybody suffering in the way that Tom did, they would agree it is an offence to their human rights not to have the chance to end it.”
An inquest in Truro last week heard that Tom, 71, who was suffering from motor-neurone disease, had told family, friends, doctors and carers of his intentions in the months leading up to his death on September 29 last year.
The couple were at their Falmouth flat when he told Anne he was ready to die, before telling her to go to bed and to take a sleeping tablet at 10.45pm.
He then wrote a suicide note and took drugs he had purchased online from Mexico. He was found dead by Anne when she woke at 3am.
The hearing was told that Tom’s disease had progressed to a stage where he was having trouble swallowing and breathing, and his condition would only worsen in the weeks and months to come.
The coroner, Dr Emma Carlyon, recorded a verdict of suicide, accepting that Tom had intended to take his own life, and had acted alone.
Anne said she had been relieved by the coroner’s attitude at the hearing. She said: “I was in a state of trepidation before the inquest, thinking people would not understand, but the coroner and everyone were so sympathetic.
“I always felt so strongly that it was Tom’s right to do what he did, but I know there is a huge amount of people in England who do not believe it is.
“I was just so glad that he found the right drugs to do it properly, we were both terrified it would not kill him, but would make him worse instead.
“However, he had planned everything in such detail to make sure it worked and that I was not involved, to an extent that I had not realised before the inquest.
“There were questions over had he written his own note, could he have opened the bottles himself.
“If he had left it for another month I would have had to have been involved, and it could all have been very different.”