Anne Turner sang songs and joked with her children - then she went to a clinic to die - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent

Anne Turner sang songs and joked with her children - then she went to a clinic to die

A retired doctor from Bath who was terminally ill with a degenerative brain disorder ended her life yesterday at a Swiss clinic in protest at Britain's outdated euthanasia laws.

Anne Turner died after drinking a mixture of barbiturates prepared by doctors at the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Zurich a day before her 67th birthday.

She was accompanied by her three grown-up children who supported her decision to end her life. Dr Turner was suffering from progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), the incurable degenerative disease which killed the actor Dudley Moore in 2002.

Using her final hours to apply pressure on the Government for a change in the law, Dr Turner travelled to the Dignitas flat in Zurich, where 42 terminally ill Britons have ended their lives, accompanied by a BBC television crew and a clutch of reporters.

Her son, Edward Turner, 39, emerged from the flat shortly after her death at 12.35pm GMT and said: "She was ready to go and that makes it all the easier for us. We will respect her choice and we will miss her very much. We are very thankful that her suffering is over." He said she had fallen asleep within five minutes of taking the dose of barbiturates and was dead half an hour later.

Her daughter, Sophie Pandit, 41, an actor, said: "I was very glad it was peaceful. I'm so relieved that she's not suffering anymore but it is still a terrible shock."

The family arrived in Zurich on Sunday and attended a Beethoven and Rachmaninov concert, took a boat trip and rode the city's trams. At dinner they bought a bottle of champagne. "We had a good cry as we drank. Everyone in the restaurant was good enough not to stare at us," said Mr Turner, an accountant from London.

Yesterday morning at their hotel overlooking the Zurichsee, the city's major lake, Dr Turner said she remained determined to carry out the act. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and had a mastectomy.

"I am just so tired of being dependent on people," she said. "But I have been forced to die in a strange country, not at home." Referring to her own failed suicide attempt in October, when she tried to suffocate herself, she said : "This time, it is really going to work. I do not want to go home."

The family then travelled by taxi to the Dignitas clinic at Forch, a few miles south-east of the city, for a consultation, which lasted an hour and 15 minutes, before driving to the flat, arriving at 10.30am. Mr Turner said the family "chatted, sang some songs and joked" in their final hours together. He also praised Dignitas as "superb", adding: "We are just full of admiration for the way they have helped my mother through this very difficult time."

Dr Turner was diagnosed a year ago and was at a relatively early stage of the disease - still able to walk, eat and communicate. She had prepared for her death by writing more than 100 "suicide notes" to her friends.

In a statement released after her death, she compared her situation to that of Dudley Moore. "At the end of his life he was unable to walk, talk, swallow or even blink. I do not want to end up like that." She said had been was forced to end her life sooner than she had wanted, because of the uncertain course of her illness, and called for assisted suicide to be made legal in Britain.

"In order to ensure that I am able to swallow the medication that will kill me, I have to go to Switzerland before I am totally incapacitated and unable to travel. If I knew that when things got so bad I would be able to request assisted suicide in Britain, then I would not have to die before I am completely ready to do so."

Her husband, Jack, a GP, died in 2002 from a similar degenerative disease, multiple systems atrophy.

Deborah Annetts, the chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said: "The Government must make time in Parliament for the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill. Only this Bill could have prevented Anne Turner from taking her life early."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

    Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

    £26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

    Retail Business Analyst

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

    Senior C++ Developer

    £400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week