British Couple Die in Suicide Pact at Swiss Euthanasia Clinic
Green, Chris, The Independent (London, England)
Husband and wife did not tell friends of Dignitas plans
AN ELDERLY British couple have committed suicide at the Dignitas euthanasia clinic in Switzerland, it emerged last night.
Peter Duff, 80, and his wife Penelope, 70, are believed to be the first British couple to have ended their lives at the clinic in Zurich. They were both suffering from terminal cancer.
The couple, from Bath in Somerset, told their friends they were moving into a second home in Dorset but flew instead to the Dignitas centre where they passed away last Friday. Exactly how they chose to die is unclear.
Mrs Duff had been suffering from a rare form of stomach cancer known as GIST for more than 15 years, and was cared for by her husband, a retired businessman. He was then diagnosed with cancer of the colon, which spread to his liver and became terminal.
Last night the couples daughter, Helena Conibear, 41, confirmed that her parents had passed away together in accordance with their wishes.
In a statement, the family said: Peter and Penny Duff passed away peacefully together in Zurich after a long battle against their terminal cancer on the 27th February.
Penny had fought a rare cancer, GIST, since 1992 and Peters colon cancer had spread to his liver. Their decision in no way reflected on the wonderful and humbling care they have received from their consultant, doctors and nurses, for which the family, and they, were so appreciative.
Dignitas is now thought to have helped more than 100 Britons to die. The controversial clinic was set up in 1998 by the Swiss lawyer Ludwig Minelli. Assisted suicide remains against the law in the UK.
The couple were well known in Bath, where Mr Duff was a patron of the annual arts festival.
He was a respected expert on wine …
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Publication information: Article title: British Couple Die in Suicide Pact at Swiss Euthanasia Clinic. Contributors: Green, Chris - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: March 6, 2009. Page number: 12. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.