Suicide verdict on assisted death rugby player

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A coroner recorded a verdict of suicide today for a rugby player who travelled to Switzerland to kill himself in a euthanasia clinic.

Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams said he had no doubt that Daniel James, 23, intended to end his own life when he visited a clinic run by the Dignitas organisation on 12 September, more than a year after a rugby accident which left him paralysed from the chest down.

Mr James's father, Mark James, described to the inquest at the coroner's court, in Stourport-on-Severn, the moment his son drank the medication that killed him.

He said: "We arrived on a plane and then we went to a hotel in Switzerland which we had pre-booked.

"Then people from Dignitas got in touch with us while we were over there.

"We had to take Dan to see a doctor over there on two occasions and there had to be a break between seeing the doctor.

"They had to interview Dan to find out that everything was as Dan said it was."

He said the doctor then prescribed a poison that would end his life.

Mr James told the 10-minute inquest hearing that the family then went to an apartment in Zurich.

He said: "A lady explained to Dan what was going to happen and asked Dan several times if that was his wishes, because she said when he takes this drink, obviously he will die.

"She asked did he want to proceed or have some time to think about what was going to happen to him.

"He said no. The drink was brought and he took it on his own."

The inquest was told that Mr James's cause of death was poisoning.

Mr Williams said: "Daniel travelled to a clinic in Switzerland where he killed himself.

"He died on September 12 2008 in Zurich, Switzerland.

"In light of information I have heard, I have no doubt of Dan's intention and therefore record the verdict that Daniel Mark James killed himself. "

Mr Williams said there was nothing a coroner could say to Mr James's family to ease their pain but he offered his sincere condolences.

The inquest was told that Mr James died peacefully.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced yesterday it would not be bringing charges against Mr and Mrs James, from Sinton Green, Worcester, for taking their son to Switzerland.