Right-to-die campaigner arrested over suicide

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The Independent Online

An 83-year-old right-to-die campaigner was arrested by appointment today in connection with the suicide of a multiple sclerosis sufferer.

Cari Loder, 48, who had lived with the neurological disease for many years, ended her life at her home in Farncombe, Surrey, on June 8.

Libby Wilson, a former GP and member of the pro-euthanasia group Friends At The End, reportedly spoke to Ms Loder just days before her death.

She was today being questioned by Surrey Police for "aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a suicide."

A spokesman said: "An 83-year-old woman attended Woking Police Station this morning by appointment.

"She was arrested in connection with the death of Cari Loder."

Under current legislation, those who "aid, abet, counsel or procure" someone else's death can be prosecuted and jailed for up to 14 years.

New guidelines clarifying when people are likely to be prosecuted were published last Wednesday by the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC.

Mr Starmer stated that charges should not be brought if the person who dies has a "clear, settled and informed wish to commit suicide" but people who put pressure on somebody will face prosecution.

The move came after the Law Lords backed multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy's call for a policy statement on whether people who help someone kill themselves should be prosecuted.

More than 100 Britons have ended their lives at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, but until recently, friends or relatives who accompany them have not known if they are going to face prosecution.

A man in his 70s from the Godalming area of Surrey, and a man in his 50s from west London, have already been arrested on suspicion of helping Ms Loder end her life.

They have been released on bail until November 18.

Ms Loder, who believed she had discovered a treatment for MS, wrote a book about her experiences called Standing In The Sunshine.

But her condition eventually deteriorated and she took her own life in June.