Avril Henry

Avril had been a professor of English medieval culture at Exeter University. She used a wheelchair, had severe hearing problems and various other medical problems, though she was not terminally ill. She decided that her life was complete and she wanted to die.

Although she made plans for as assisted suicide in Switzerland, she clearly did not want to have to make the journey abroad. Her suicide note said:

In case solitary suicide was not possible, I also obtained approval for Assisted Dying at ExInternational in Berne, … but the journey in my unpowered wheelchair would have been difficult and horrible.

Instead of travelling to Switzerland, she obtained lethal drugs illegally. This was detected by interpol and a few days before she took her life police broke down her door to search for them. Avril was obviously prepared for this possibility as she appears to have concealed the drugs well enough that the police failed to find all of them.

There were many reports of this case in the media.




MDMD do not condone nor assist people ending their lives in this way. This case illustrates some of the many problems of this approach. We recognise that some people feel they have no acceptable alternatives and we campaign for a change in the law to allow safe, legal, professional assisted dying in this country which is not limited to the terminally ill.