Right-to-die: Grandmother starves herself to death after UK's assisted suicide laws left her with 'no alternative'

Campaigner Jean Davies, 86, stopped drinking water on 16 September and passed away on 1 October

An elderly woman has starved herself to death to get around the UK’s tight and restrictive laws on assisted suicide.

Octogenarian Jean Davies, who is also a right-to-die campaigner, spent five weeks attempting to end her life and succeeded in doing so on 1 October.

The former maths teacher, 86, did not have a terminal illness, but suffered a range of conditions that made her life uncomfortable including chronic back pain and fainting episodes.

She told the Sunday Times: “It is hell. I can’t tell you how hard it is. You wouldn’t decide this unless you thought your life was going to be so bad. It is intolerable.”

It is understood that she stopped drinking water on 16 September and was frustrated that her death wasn’t days after, but two weeks.


Ms Davies’ four children and two grandchildren were reportedly supportive of her decision.

She told the paper that she had no alternative as the other methods are “either illegal or I would need to go to [the Dignitas clinic in] Switzerland – and I want to die in my own bed”. Earlier this month Australian doctor Philip Nitschke opened a clinic in the UK to help advise people on how to end their lives.

Called Exit International, the organisation has been branded as “potentially very dangerous” and could be “open to abuse”.

He told The Independent at the time: “It is easier to prepare [for death] now. That is the message Exit International has been promoting and why it is so important to have an office in London.

“We encourage people not to wait around until they are seriously ill before coming to see us.”

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, campaigners seeking a change in the law on assisted dying for terminally ill adults, said: “Assuming Exit International’s intention is to provide potentially vulnerable people information on how to die then it is both unwelcome and potentially very dangerous.”

Additional reporting by agencies.

Anyone seeking confidential support on suicide can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.