UPDATED: Leeds man loses right-to-die court battle

A Leeds man paralysed in car accident has learned this morning he has lost what could be his last legal attempt in the right-to-die battle.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25th June 2014, 11:08 am
Paul Lamb
Paul Lamb

Paul Lamb, from Leeds, was at the Supreme Court in London this morning to hear the judgement.

The 58-year-old, who was left quadriplegic following the crash in 1990, took his case to the Supreme Court after losing a Court of Appeal hearing over the issue.

He was at the court in London today with Jane Nicklinson, whose late husband Tony Nicklinson began the case.

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Mr Nicklinson had locked-in syndrome and lost the first round of his battle in the High Court in 2012. Shortly afterwards he began refusing food and died a week later.

Mr Lamb had been following the case and decided to contact Mrs Nicklinson, who was continuing the legal battle on her husband’s behalf.

Their bid to change the law on assisted dying failed in the Court of Appeal but in December they took the battle to the Supreme Court.

Speaking before the judgement, Mr Lamb said he is not looking to end his life soon, but wants to know that he would have an option if he decided he could not live with the constant pain his disability has left him in.

In 1990, he was working as a builder and long-distance lorry driver and was married with a young family when he was involved in the crash which changed his life permanently.

He was in hospital for a year afterwards and now relies on a team of carers who look after him at his home in Bramley.

He also suffers from permanent, agonising pain in the nerves, known as root pain, as well as a dislocated shoulder which has never been able to be treated.

“I want to feel that this country definitely, when I know I can’t take any more, will listen to me.”

“I just like the idea that when I know enough’s enough, I have got a dignified way out - instead of screaming at nurses to ‘please help me’.

“I can still enjoy life, but it’s limited with the pain all the time.”

Speaking ahead of the case yesterday, Mr Lamb had said he was cautiously optimistic about today’s decision and glad that a change in the law on assisted dying was also possible through Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which receives its second reading in the House of Lords on July 18.

If passed, the bill would allow terminally ill adults to be given assistance to end their lives.

The father-of-two added that he was pleased the right-to-die was still being debated: “It would be fantastic to get some kind of a result that proves they have listened and acknowledged.

“Regardless of the outcome, it’s bringing publicity to it all. It’s a big story and that can’t do any harm.

“I can’t help but feel more positive than negative but I feel it’s keeping the debate open, and that in itself is great.”