Brian Sewell describes plans to commit suicide if health fails


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The Independent Online

Art critic Brian Sewell has described in detail his plan to commit suicide using pills and gin.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, Sewell said the thought of suicide was “a great comfort” and called for Parliament to pass a Bill allowing doctors to assist “lucid and articulate” patients who wish to die.

The London Evening Standard art critic, who has suffered from a heart condition since 1994, said he will take his own life when he can no longer enjoy the pleasures of music, art and books.

“I cherish the notion of dying easily and with my wits about me,” said Sewell, who has no moral or religious inhibitions against suicide.

When the time comes, Sewell plans to visit a deserted bench near a busy road and swallow a large number of pills with a bottle of Bombay Gin. He will leave a note explaining that he is of “sound mind” and doesn’t want to be resuscitated if he is found before his heart stops.

The writer, who turns 82 tomorrow, became art critic for the Evening Standard in 1984, winning Critic of the Year in 1988, Arts Journalist of the Year in 1994, the Hawthornden Prize for Art Criticism in 1995 and the Foreign Press Award (Arts) in 2000.

In April 2003 he was awarded the George Orwell Prize for his column in the Evening Standard.

Sewell plans to donate his body to a teaching hospital, although fears he may render it useless after filling it with poisons.

In December 1997, Parliament debated the ‘Doctor Assisted Dying Bill”, to give doctors the right to assist terminally ill patients who wanted to commit suicide but were physically incapable of the act. Although the bill was discussed at length no action followed.