Pensioner who campaigned for the right to assisted suicide dies
A TERMINALLY-ILL pensioner who was calling for a change in the law to make assisted suicide legal in the UK has died.
George Martin, 86, died in his sleep at around 3am yesterday.
WATCH George Martin pleading for a change in the law
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In the build up to his death, Mr Martin had resorted to starving himself to death out of frustration that it was illegal in the UK for people to be helped to die.
He had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and for the last 21 days of his life survived off just water and liquid morphine for his pain.
Last week, Mr Martin, of Westwood, near Selston, spoke to the Post and made a heartfelt plea for the law – which was set down in the 1961 Suicide Act – to be changed.
Yesterday, his daughter Sara Martin, 49, said: "He was a lovely man who lived his life to the full, and for what he believed in.
"He was pleased that his story got so much exposure; he just wanted to get the message out there and try and improve things for vulnerable likeminded adults like himself.
"If there could be a meaningful debate or even a law change then that really would be a true, lasting memory for dad.
"He died very peacefully in the end, but in the last couple of days he deteriorated very rapidly. It's been an emotional day."
Mr Martin, who had four children, wanted assisted suicide to be made legal in the UK, so people who were of sound mind and faced with the onset of death could choose to be put to sleep.
After his story was published, more than 300 people voted in the Post's poll and agreed that Mr Martin should be granted his wish and the law should be changed, as is the case with several European countries including Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.
Speaking to the Post, Mr Martin, who was brought up in a deprived area of Elephant and Castle in London and went on to become a successful chartered accountant, said: "I am of sound mind, I have loved my life, and feel very proud of many things, not least my family, but now I want to be allowed to die with dignity."
Campaign group Dignity in Dying said the current law caused Mr Martin to "suffer unbearably".
But wanting to die, in the event of terminal disease, was not a frame of mind Mr Martin had adopted because of his current circumstances.
Back in 2004 he made a "living will" following advice from Dignity in Dying, and in it he documented his desire to refuse medicine should he ever be taken seriously ill.
Mr Martin, who required 24-hour care and weighed less than six stone in the build up to his death, had diligently updated this will with his signature every year, as evidence that his resolve remained unchanged.
Mr Martin had four children, two of which have died during his lifetime, and he was married to Mary Martin who also died 21 years ago from a brain tumour aged 64.
He will leave legacies to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, while the remainder of his estate will be left to the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association.