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Assisted dying campaigner Noel Conway dies aged 71 Assisted dying campaigner Noel Conway dies aged 71
(32 minutes later)
Noel Conway was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2014Noel Conway was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2014
Campaigner Noel Conway, who brought a legal challenge against the ban on assisted dying in the UK, has died at the age of 71.Campaigner Noel Conway, who brought a legal challenge against the ban on assisted dying in the UK, has died at the age of 71.
Mr Conway, of Shropshire, had motor neurone disease and only had movement in his right hand, head and neck.Mr Conway, of Shropshire, had motor neurone disease and only had movement in his right hand, head and neck.
He took his campaign to the Supreme Court, arguing for his right to die, but lost his appeal in 2018. He took his campaign to the Supreme Court, arguing for his right to die, but lost the appeal in 2018.
His wife Carol said he had died at home on Wednesday after deciding with his family to remove his ventilator.His wife Carol said he had died at home on Wednesday after deciding with his family to remove his ventilator.
She said his carers "ensured Noel had a painless and dignified death, demonstrating empathy and concern for us all".She said his carers "ensured Noel had a painless and dignified death, demonstrating empathy and concern for us all".
"Noel was in control, which was so important," Mrs Conway said."Noel was in control, which was so important," Mrs Conway said.
"Ultimately, Noel wanted the choice of an assisted death, and I hope his campaigning will bring this option closer to becoming a reality for other terminally ill people in this country." "Ultimately, Noel wanted the choice of an assisted death and I hope his campaigning will bring this option closer to becoming a reality for other terminally ill people in this country."
Noel Conway, pictured with his wife, Carol, was a former lecturerNoel Conway, pictured with his wife, Carol, was a former lecturer
Mr Conway, a former lecturer, argued the current law is an unjustifiable interference with the right to respect for private life under the European Convention on Human Rights.Mr Conway, a former lecturer, argued the current law is an unjustifiable interference with the right to respect for private life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
However, in September 2018 his legal battle for reform ended when the Supreme Court rejected his bid to appeal against a High Court ruling that refused him the option of assisted dying.However, in September 2018 his legal battle for reform ended when the Supreme Court rejected his bid to appeal against a High Court ruling that refused him the option of assisted dying.
He wanted a doctor to be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose when his health deteriorated, but the current law means any doctor who did so risked 14 years in prison.
Before his illness Mr Conway was a keen skier, climber and cyclist
After the ruling, he said his remaining options were to "effectively suffocate" by removing his ventilator, or spend thousands travelling to the Dignitas assisted dying clinic in Switzerland to end his life and have his family risk prosecution.
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Mrs Conway said her husband had been left with "considerable anxiety" when he had decided to remove his ventilator on Wednesday due to "the uncertainty over how long this would take for Noel and what he might experience".
Mr Conway was dependent on his ventilator to breathe and Dignity in Dying, which supported his legal action, released a statement to say he had removed it "to hasten his death".
Mr Conway's case was at the heart of a debate around assisted dying
The campaigner, who lived in Garmston, near Shrewsbury, spoke openly about how he felt "entombed" by his illness since his diagnosis in 2014 and he could not accept the standard of living he expected at the end of his life.
His case was among several high profile attempts to challenge the UK's law on assisted dying, and divided opinion.
Care Not Killing, which had opposed Mr Conway's appeal, argued his case failed to give enough weight to "the sanctity of life" and that a complete ban on assisted suicide and euthanasia was the safest law.
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