paralysed road accident victim Paul Lamb, of Leeds, and the family of late locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson have vowed to carry on their right-to-die legal battle after suffering a defeat at the Court of Appeal.
After three judges in London rejected their cases, former builder and father-of-two Mr Lamb, 57, who wants a doctor to help him die in a dignified way, said he was “absolutely gutted” by the decision, but said he would carry on with the fight.
Mr Lamb, who had won the right to join the litigation to continue the battle started by Mr Nicklinson, from Wiltshire, said: “I was hoping for a humane and dignified end. This judgment does not give me that.
“I will carry on the legal fight - this is not just about me but about many, many other people who are being denied the right to die a humane and dignified death just because the law is too scared to grapple with these issues.”
Mr Lamb wants a doctor to help him die in a dignified way, preferably by a lethal injection, with his family around him in his own home but this third party assistance is considered to be murder under common law.
Mr Nicklinson’s widow Jane said in a statement: “As a family, we are hugely disappointed with the judgment but it will not stop us.
“We will carry on with the case for as long as we can so that others who find themselves in a position similar to Tony don’t have to suffer as he did. Nobody deserves such cruelty.”
The next move is to continue their battle at the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court.
The Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson and Lord Justice Elias, said in a lengthy written ruling that the law “relating to assisting suicide cannot be changed by judicial decision”.
He said: “Whatever the personal views of any individual judge on these delicate and sensitive subjects - and I suspect that the personal views of individual judges would be as contradictory as those held by any other group of people - the constitutional imperative is that, however subtle and impressive the arguments to the contrary may be, we cannot effect the changes or disapply the present statutory provisions, not because we are abdicating our responsibility, but precisely because we are fulfilling our proper constitutional role.”