A multiple sclerosis sufferer ‘killed herself after watching a BBC drama about assisted suicide’

A multiple sclerosis sufferer ‘killed herself after watching a BBC drama about assisted suicide’

A multiple sclerosis sufferer killed herself after watching a BBC drama starring Julie Walters about assisted suicide, an inquest heard.

Angela Harrison took an overdose of paracetamol and other drugs after the one-off drama ‘A Short Stay in Switzerland’was shown in January.

She was rushed to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Cambridgeshire, but died two days later.

An inquest at Huntingdon Law Courts heard how the 44-year-old, from Eynesbury, had battled depression for many years because of the strain of the crippling neurological disease.

She had previously told her children that she wanted to end her life before her condition became completely debilitating.

Frank Harrison, her brother, told the inquest that she had been planning to take a holiday on a cruise ship just days before the overdose.

He said that he believed that watching the drama about a terminally ill patient travelling abroad to end her life was the final straw in his sister’s battle against her illness.

Mr Harrison said: “She had decided a long time ago that she would take her own life when the time came.

“I think what brought it on that night was watching that Julie Walters play on television.”

He described how her disease led to the loss of her independence and finally left her needing a wheelchair at times.

He said: “She fought against being wheelchair-bound, by having handrails fitted around her house.”

In the television drama Julie Walters played Anne Turner, a retired English doctor who in 2006 took her own life at Dignitas, the Swiss assisted suicide clinic, because she could not bear to go on living with an incurable degenerative disease called supranuclear palsy.

MS affects about 85,000 people in Britain.

The disease is caused by the destruction of myelin, a fatty protective sheath surrounding the body’s central nervous system.

Sufferers typical experience extreme tiredness, difficulty walking or speaking and pain and there is currently no known cure.

David Morris, the coroner, recorded a verdict of suicide.

He said: “She took her own life when her experience of a rapidly deteriorating and disabling condition reached an intolerable stage.”

Related posts