Cornelius Van Der Ploeg has been jailed for at least five and a half years after he suffocated his terminally ill ex-wife Cherith Van Der Ploeg when she had only days to live.
Commenting on the case, Andrew Mitchell MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life said:
“This is a deeply distressing case, but sadly such cases are likely to continue under our current law which fails to provide terminally ill people with choice or protection.
“What makes this case so very difficult is that it is not clear what Cherith Van Der Ploeg wanted. It’s vital that dying people can have honest, open conversations with their loved ones and their doctors about what they want for the end of their lives. Under the change in the law proposed by Dignity in Dying, a terminally ill person would have to meet a range of robust safeguards before they could have an assisted death, ensuring they were fully mentally competent and making an informed decision. Relatives would no longer have to contemplate breaking the law to end a loved one’s suffering, as terminally ill people who wanted the choice of an assisted death would be able to access it, safely and openly, with proper medical support.”
Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Dorset commented:
“Last year I, along with over half of all PCCs in England, wrote to the Justice Secretary calling for an inquiry into our broken laws on assisted dying. This case is yet another deeply concerning signal that banning the practice drives it underground, and instead of protecting our terminally ill people, exposes them to greater harm.”
For more information or interview requests, please contact Davina Hehir at Dignity in Dying: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07725 433025.