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Criminal Law: BBC producer calls for legalisation of assisted suicide

Geraldine McClelland, a producer for the BBC, was dying from lung and liver cancer and decided to end her life with the help of others by travelling to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

However, she wrote a letter, published just hours after her death, calling on the British Government to legalise assisted suicide.

In her letter, Ms McClelland, 61, wrote: "I am not sad that I will die today. I am angry that because of the cowardice of our politicians I can't die in the country I was born in, in my own home."

Ms McClelland, who produced Watchdog and Crimewatch, made a dying wish that people would talk about her death and that her letter would be published by the campaign group Dignity in Dying.

She wrote: "I would like to be able to choose to take medication to end my life if my suffering becomes unbearable for me, at home, with my family and friends around me.

"But the law in this country prevents me from doing so."

She concluded: "I believe that as part of my end-of-life care, which has otherwise been good, I should have been allowed to choose not to endure the last weeks of my life, and I believe you should have that choice when you are dying too.

"I don't believe that my brother and sister should have to break the law so that they can be with me when I die. Your loved ones should not be in that position either."

In the UK, it is an offence to help someone to commit suicide. Those who help their loved ones to die could potentially be found guilty of murder. However, recent guidelines allow courts to consider the motives of a person accused of assisting in suicide when sentencing.

Do you think assisted suicide should be legalised? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Related links:

Read more on the story (BBC)

Assisted suicide (FindLaw)

Find local criminal solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)