‘Arrest me’, challenges assisted suicide doctor

A doctor and assisted suicide activist is challenging police to arrest him for giving a terminally ill man £1,500 towards killing himself at a Swiss suicide facility.

Dr Michael Irwin will be interviewed by police over the death of 58-year-old Raymond Cutkelvin at the Dignitas facility in Switzerland.

Mr Cutkelvin’s homosexual partner, Alan Rees, was arrested last week on suspicion of assisting a suicide. He has been released on bail until September.

“I’ve done this before and I would do it again if someone is terminally ill”, said Dr Irwin, who is an adviser to the pro-euthanasia group Friends at the End.

He said by challenging police to arrest him he wanted to become a “martyr” to help the campaign to weaken the law on assisted suicide.

Dr Irwin thinks the law should allow assisted suicide in the UK.

His publicity bid comes as the Law Lords prepare to rule on the case of multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy, who wants a guarantee that her husband will not be prosecuted if he escorts her to a suicide facility abroad.

She has been supported by Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

More than 100 Britons have died at the Swiss Dignitas facility, and no-one has yet been prosecuted for helping them travel there.

Earlier this month, the House of Lords defeated an attempt to weaken the law on assisted suicide.

Most doctors oppose assisted suicide, but the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has been criticised over the past few days for changing its position on the issue from opposed to neutral.

Commenting on the RCN move today, crossbench Peer and Fellow of the RCN Baroness Emerton said it was “irresponsible” and reminded nurses that assisting a suicide is illegal.

She said: “Those who are involved in healthcare know that appeals to be helped to die made by seriously ill patients are not uncommon, but invariably are a cry for help or reasssurance rather than a serious request. Sometimes the underlying issue is not even their health but something like money or personal relationships.”

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