Police probe rugby player's assisted suicide

Sunday 23 October 2011 08:21

Police are investigating the death of a paralysed rugby player who went to Switzerland for an assisted suicide.

Daniel James, 23, died on 12 September after travelling to a Swiss clinic to kill himself, an inquest heard.

West Mercia Police said they had been in contact with a man and a woman following the death.

Mr James, from Worcester, was a promising rugby player and represented England at under-16s level. Mr James also played for the England Universities rugby team and England Students team. He made one appearance for England Universities in 2005 and five appearances for England Students between 2006 and 2007.

In March last year he dislocated his spine when a scrum collapsed during a training session at Nuneaton Rugby Football Club.

A spinal research fund created by family and friends in his memory has raised almost £25,000.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned at the coroner's court in Worcestershire last month.

Detective Inspector Adrian Todd said: "A police investigation is ongoing and officers have spoken with a man and a woman in connection with the case.

"A report will later be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service and an inquest into the death will take place in due course."

Daniel's parents said today that their son had tried "several" times to kill himself before he "gained his wish".

They defended their son's decision to commit suicide in Switzerland saying he was "an intelligent young man of sound mind" who was "not prepared to live what he felt was a second-class existence".

A spokesman for the Rugby Football Union said Daniel was a "very good player" who was highly regarded by his team-mates.

He said: "We cannot comment about any investigation. What we can reiterate is that we were desperately sad to hear the news of Dan's death and expressed our deepest condolences to his family at the time.

"Our injured player welfare officer, David Phillips, attended Dan's funeral and the RFU president, Brian Williams, sent a letter of condolence to the family on behalf of the Union.

"He was a very good player and very highly regarded. The students' teams are seen as a good stepping stone for people going on to play a very high level of rugby."

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