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Richard and Judy suicide pact

(76 Posts)
cheshiregran Mon 12-May-14 14:12:31

Just spotted this in the news and wondered what other people thought. Already attrcating lots of controversy. It certainly shows that they are a very devoted couple

BeeWitch Mon 12-May-14 15:03:17

I saw this too, cheshiregran but it's such a extremely personal choice - why would they tell the world about it? hmm

HollyDaze Mon 12-May-14 15:09:15

Maybe they want to lend support to assisted suicide. If people are facing an agonsining death or they've just had enough of living with pain and they decide this is the way to go for them, as long as psychologists talk them through everything first, I think people should have that choice; not everyone wants to live to the bitter end.

I remember one of our dogs, when I was about 9 years old, was taken away from our home by the RSPCA. The dog had cancer and was very ill but my Dad refused to let the vet put her to sleep (he loved the dog dearly) but the vet turned up with the police to take the dog and take the dog they did stating that is was cruel to make her live through all that pain. I'm puzzled why humans should not be given the same consideration.

sunseeker Mon 12-May-14 15:28:54

I agree people should be allowed to choose to end their lives when the alternative is a painful and possibly degrading existence.

When my DH was terminally ill I was ready to help him end his life if that is what he wished, but I do think it is a deeply personal choice and not one to be shared with anyone outside the immediate family circle.

I can understand well known people wanting to support assisted suicide if it is something they feel strongly about, but I think they could do so without announcing what their own plans are.

merlotgran Mon 12-May-14 15:34:22

Another thread about death??

Gransnet's a cheerful place at the moment hmm

BeeWitch Mon 12-May-14 15:38:55

That's a good point HollyDaze, and I do agree with being fully informed and then being able to make the right choice for yourself.

It was just the fact that celebrities seem willing to disclose the most personal parts of their lives. confused Too much information?

And that was a sad little story about your dog when you were a little girl. sad The only time I remember my dad crying was when we had our doggie put to sleep.

nigglynellie Mon 12-May-14 16:12:53

I think that perhaps we SHOULD discuss death more often. Not in a morbid way, but in a practical one, that way we and our relatives can all make informed decisions, make sure that our wishes and our wills are up to date if/when old age, terminal illness a fatal accident even, rear their head. We have recently had to euthanize our beloved little spaniel. She had terminal cancer and her future was hopeless, so sooner than allow her to suffer we 'did the deed'. It broke our hearts, but SO much better than her having to battle on to the end. As you can probably guess, this is a road I feel strongly that humans should be able to take as well, obviously with all the safeguards, making a suicide pact unnecessary. My parents had what my mother described as their overdose strategy, ie a horde of sleeping tablets. They didn't need them and I threw them away after their deaths, but the thought of them even thinking of doing this was disturbing, never mind going through with it.

granjura Mon 12-May-14 17:44:22

They are talking about it because it will soon be discussed in the House of Lords- and feel it is important to put all this out in the open for discussion, and quite rightly so. Whether this is the best way to do this, I am not sure- but it is their right, no?

Also it seems that Judy has really not been well lately- and perhaps something is going on with her health which has triggered this important question with them, of what if? Perhaps to protect each other, so that it is clear in the eyes of the law, publicly, that this is their intention. Nowhere though do they talk about a suicide pact as I understood it, ie that they would chose to commit suicide together, hand in hand.

When I read stuff like that, I feel so privileged to live in a country where all this has been debated long ago- and where people do have the choice (but even now, only if compus mentis- which is what we are working on now- eg that people could make advanced directive that they should be helped to die once they reach a clear stage, pre described by individuals and signed and approved by Doctor and solicitor- thus not forcing people with pre dementia from having to commit suicide far too early, when they are still actively enjoying many aspects of life- lest it becomes too late).

Soutra Mon 12-May-14 17:58:08

I too often lost the will to live when I used to watch Richard and Judy on daytime TV [hmm|

Soutra Mon 12-May-14 17:58:49


Culag Mon 12-May-14 19:16:52

Well I've never watched them on TV, but I was interested to hear them on the PM programme on Radio 4 this evening. I think we should talk about the end of life more. We treat animals better than we do humans. Having watched my husband and then his mother die, I feel things ought to change. A 93 year old should be allowed to go quietly and peacefully and not after inept treatment by locums at the weekend.

granjura Mon 12-May-14 19:23:27

Drs are between a rock and a hardplace- with families ready to sue them to Kingdom come for being ageist if they allow an elderly patient to slip away quietly- or as used to happen very often before Shipman- out of humanity and with all the best intentions. So what are they to do? Blamed if they do, blamed if they don't??? and sued anyhow.

Culag Mon 12-May-14 19:28:07

Yes granjura, it is a very complex subject, so the more we talk about it the better.

cheshiregran Mon 12-May-14 19:36:04

Yes very complex. I think it's good to talk about it. I would hate to see a loved one suffer. But equally I think it could be open to abuse. Be very interesting to see how the Lords debate goes

JessM Mon 12-May-14 19:45:09

She doesn't look well. Not really a suicide pact then, that usually means that two people will commit suicide together. An assisted death pact. I guess there are ways of doing this in hospital sometimes if the ill person has agreed they "just want to be made comfortable". But there are so many factors that you can't predict in advance.
I do wonder about the fact that the specialists in terminal care are in the voluntary sector and that the majority of people don't die in a hospice but in a hospital ward - a place not geared up for terminal care. Also not a very handy spot in which to assist someone to die a bit sooner are they.

janeainsworth Mon 12-May-14 20:03:00

I've just listened again to the interview on PM with Eddie Mair.
Richard and Judy claimed that this pact is the result of their discussions following the death of Richard's mother 2 weeks ago from Alzheimer's and lung cancer.

I have to say that R&J's upbeat tone gave me the impression that they really hadn't thought through the issues of potential abuse, etc. Eddie had to press Richard to admit that one of them would actually be killing the other, to which Richard responded that people kill each other in different ways already, by withdrawing fluids and food, turning off life-support machines and so on, as if that would be the same. Well no, actually it isn't.

A man from Care not Killing came on and said that there was a phenomenon of 'Suicide Contagion' whereby when suicide became normalised, there was an increase in the number of suicides in the general population. He used the term 'celebrity endorsement'.

Two years ago a young man whom we had known since he was a baby, killed himself. I would not wish the grief that his parents suffered, and are suffering, on anyone.

Kiora Mon 12-May-14 20:03:51

Oh Soutragrin he he he

merlotgran Mon 12-May-14 20:11:51

The OP is very misleading as it's not a suicide pact. I tend to be wary of celebrity endorsed lifestyle changes and you can't change someone's life much more than killing them hmm

Richard's always too flip and and I agree with janeainsworth. I bet they haven't really thought this through and it's a knee jerk reaction following the death of Richard's mother which was only two weeks ago.

granjura Mon 12-May-14 20:47:33

No idea what is the problem with Judy- she could have a disease where she knows the outcome will be slow and painful- perhaps like Debbie Purdy- we just don't know. By making their views known, that will protect Richard to some extent- should he ever 'need' to help her out of pain.

Nobody should be put into that situation- and in a very positive way- it was part of our thinking when we decided to move here to retire- where we do have the choice- where professionals would help rather than have to rely on a loved one to help with release from pain and indignity, which should never happen. Not a slippery slope at all, and it works extremely well here in practice. In many ways, people are more prepared to fight illness as long as poss, knowing they can ask for help when it really becomes too much- not the other way round, at all. The only problem still left here, as said above, is with Alzheimers and dementia- as help can't be sought once it is too late and the threshold into not being compu mentis stops the process. Hopefully a solution will be found soon, for those prepared to put together a list of (say 5) criteria which would indicate that the time has come for someone to help- not easy to define those, but my list is almost ready.

Having preparation for your death is absolutely NOT negative, as it takes the fear away- especially the fear of extreme pain, suffocation and total loss of dignity (my poor MIL would have been horrified to know what she got up to in the last stages of Alzheimers- poor thing- but nobody could help her out, and it was a long and awful descent into hell).

cheshiregran Mon 12-May-14 21:03:17

merlotgran you are right but I simply lifted the headline so blame the BBC not me grin

janeainsworth Tue 13-May-14 05:32:55

Richard and Judy themselves describe it as a suicide pact in the article in the Telegraph too.
Superficial is the only word I can think of to describe them.

thatbags Tue 13-May-14 06:44:13

It's about Dignity in Dying and getting the law changed so that when terminally ill people want to end their lives they can, with assistance if required. There has been such a law in place in Oregon for over a decade. The result of having that law in place has reduced not increased the number of suicides and the law has not been abused by being used to euthanise people.

No, they are not superficial.

Perhaps more people need to live with the pain of severe illness to understand what assisted suicide is all about. I'm all for it. Life is not sacred when it's a living undignified hell.

janeainsworth Tue 13-May-14 07:20:54

Bags this is the original article from the Telegraph

It isn't about Dignity in Dying. It's about two people deciding that at some point in the future they might kill each other and making it all sound very simple.

Here is a quote from the article:
^“If Judy was really ill and in logical mind, and at that point where you just need a little push to go over the edge,” explains Richard, “I wouldn’t give a tuppenny f--- if there was a risk of being prosecuted. I’d do what was right for my wife. And I’d take the consequences. That is your job, that is your responsibility as a partner.”
“And I’d do the same,” chimes in Judy. “Stuff it all! We’ve made ourselves give each other a pledge along those lines.”
“Yeah, if, when the time came, and I was administering the morphine or whatever, and Judy said to me, 'But what about you? What about the risk of prosecution?’, I’d say, 'That’s my problem, I’ll deal with that, don’t worry about it.’ And for me, it would be the locked room, the bottle of whisky and the revolver. I wouldn’t want to mess around.”
“I wouldn’t use a revolver,” protests Judy. “Euhhh!”^

That isn't the same as someone seeking proper medical help, with proper safeguards, to end their life in the circumstances you describe.

Aka Tue 13-May-14 08:17:35

I'm totally in agreement with you Bags

As there isn't any 'medical help, with proper safeguards, to end their lives' available in this country I don't take your point Jane.

Like Niggly and others on GN I have had to take the difficult decision to have a beloved pet put down to save unnecessary suffering. I see no reason that, in a civilised society, we should not have that option open to human beings.

janeainsworth Tue 13-May-14 08:42:04

Aka My point is that what is about to be debated in the Lords, as far as I know, involves proper safeguards, proper consent and medical involvement.
It is not about a husband and wife taking the decision all by themselves, to administer a fatal injection.
It is more Richard's cavalier attitude and tone that I object to, rather than the idea of assisted dying per se.
And I have to say, ending the life of even a much loved animal is not the same as ending the life of a human being.