Berne: A retired art teacher has ended her life at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland after becoming increasingly disillusioned with modern life.
A grave disconnect: The woman was concerned that ‘so many people spend their lives sitting in front of a computer’. Pic/Thinkstock
In an interview before her death, the 89-year-old environmentalist from Sussex, said she felt technology had taken the humanity out of social interaction.
Anne, who asked to be referred to only by her first name, also said she was worried about the damage being inflicted on the planet through overcrowding and pollution.
Despite being neither terminally ill nor seriously handicapped, the former electrician with the Royal Navy said she wanted to take her own life.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, she asked. ‘Why do so many people spend their lives sitting in front of a computer or television?’
‘I have never had a television, I have only had a radio ... People are becoming more and more remote ... We are becoming robots. It is this lack of humanity.’
She added, “I find myself swimming against the current, and you can't do that. If you can't join them, get off. They say adapt or die. At my age, I feel that I can’t adapt.”
The pensioner said she had suffered from ill-health in recent years and was worried that further deterioration might result in her going into a nursing home.
She also told how she spent 11 days in hospital last year and feared returning there. While euthanasia is prohibited in Switzerland, assisted suicide is legal if no selfish interests are involved. The issue of assisted suicide, highlighted in recent years by a number of celebrities and high-profile cases, is highly controversial.
In August 2012, Tony Nicklinson, a sufferer of ‘locked-in’ syndrome, was told by a judge he could not choose to end his life with a doctor’s help. Following the trial, Nicklinson, who died six days later after refusing food, said he had been condemned by the law to ‘a life of increasing indignity and misery.’
200 Number of Britons who have ended their life at Dignitas since 1998
Researchers have found women, highly educated, divorced and rich people are more likely to die from assisted suicide.
A study in Switzerland, found that of people helped by right-to-die organisations such as Dignitas, around 16% did not register an underlying cause, indicating that an increasing number of people may simply becoming ‘weary of life’.
Last month, UK MPs backed a new legislation on assisted suicide which will be put before Parliament in the next four months. Lord Falconer’s Bill would allow doctors to help terminally ill people to die to relieve their suffering.