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Scots euthanasia campaigner dies at clinic in Switzerland

Richard Selley, from Perth, made a final plea to politicians to change the law over assisted dying.

Richard Seeley: Died after battle with MND.
Richard Seeley: Died after battle with MND. STV

A euthanasia campaigner who used his final message to call for a change in the law has died at a clinic in Switzerland.

Richard Selley, who had motor neuron disease, died at Dignitas on Friday.

The 65-year-old, from Perth, who found out he had the degenerative condition in 2015, had earlier urged politicians to give terminally ill people the right to die in Scotland.

The former head teacher used his final months to campaign for a change in the law to allow assisted dying as an option for terminally ill, mentally competent Scots.

A final video of Richard in which he urged MSPs to support an Assisted Dying Bill was released by Dignity in Dying on the morning of his death.

In the video he said that he wanted other terminally ill people to have the option to die on their own terms at home, rather than endure the suffering he has experienced.

Richard was accompanied to Dignitas with his wife Elaine Selley, 57, who released a statement following his death.

She said: "Richard died very peacefully at lunchtime today. His brother Peter and I were at his side.

"At Dignitas, in a clinically clean room, well-appointed but devoid of any personal touches, we could feel all the love that has been shared with us over the years.

'Richard died very peacefully at lunchtime today. His brother Peter and I were at his side.'
Richard Selley

"The end was dignified and calm, exactly as Richard wanted. He had taken control of his own destiny.

"I will continue to fight for the human right of those who are terminally ill to choose how and when they die in Scotland.

"The experience of travelling to Switzerland will never leave me. It was traumatic.

"No one should ever need to make that journey from a supposedly humane and compassionate country like Scotland."

Ally Thomson, director of Dignity in Dying Scotland, said: "Richard and Elaine showed immense bravery and dignity in sharing their story and speaking out about the injustice they both suffered under Scotland's outdated, broken law in their final weeks together.

"The outpouring of support they have received from members of the public and parliamentarians has been overwhelming, but not surprising - almost nine in ten Scots support a change in the law to allow terminally ill, mentally competent people the choice of an assisted death, subject to strict safeguards.

"As Richard pointed out in his final message, he received outstanding palliative care. But it was simply not enough to guarantee him the swift, peaceful and dignified death he wanted.

"In the face of stories like Richard's and an ever increasing number of jurisdictions around the world embracing assisted dying, it is imperative that Parliamentarians act.

"If we are serious about improving end of life care in this country and ensuring that everyone has the death that's right for them, assisted dying must be part of the conversation."

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