No trial over Dignitas death despite ‘sufficient evidence’

Two people who helped a man to end his life at a Swiss suicide clinic will not be prosecuted, despite there being “sufficient evidence”.

The pair were arrested last year on suspicion of helping Douglas Sinclair to commit suicide.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, looked at the case and decided it would not be in the public interest to prosecute.


Mr Sinclair, who was suffering with multiple system atrophy, travelled to Dignitas in Swtizerland to end his life in July 2010.

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) statement said it had “carefully reviewed a file of evidence” in relation to the case.

The CPS added: “The man made travel arrangements and accompanied Mr Sinclair to Switzerland, and the woman helped him with the Dignitas paperwork.

“We have decided that although there is sufficient evidence to prosecute both these people, it would not be in the public interest to do so.”


The CPS also said that Mr Sinclair’s decision to commit suicide was “voluntary, clear, settled and informed”.

In 2010 Mr Starmer unveiled new guidelines outlining when people are likely to be prosecuted for assisting a suicide.

The guidelines indicate that those who were “wholly motivated by compassion” are unlikely to face a prosecution.


In May last year the CPS said that a man who helped his wife suffocate herself would not be prosecuted for assisting her suicide.

Michael Bateman helped his wife commit suicide by putting a bag over her head and inserting a gas.

At the time a spokesman for Care Not Killing, a pro-life campaign group, warned: “We have concerns that the compassion test laid down by the DPP could be used as a backdoor legalisation of euthanasia and we will be looking at every case very closely.”

In February Alison Davis, a disabled woman who twenty five years ago had a “settled wish” to die, said her “life is worth living” despite her pain.

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