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Dignity in Dying statement on inquest into the death of Max Mosley

Former Formula One boss Max Mosley ended his own life after learning his cancer was terminal, Westminster Coroner's Court heard on Tuesday.

Mr Mosley developed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a cancer affecting immune cells, in 2019, and died in May 2021. The inquest heard that Mr Mosley had been in “debilitating” pain and the coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide, saying she was “satisfied” Mr Mosley intended to kill himself.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

“Our thoughts are with the family of former Formula One boss Max Mosley, who, as revealed in an inquest yesterday, took his own life in May last year. The inquest reported that Mr Mosley had previously exhausted all treatment options for lymphoma, had been given a terminal prognosis and was experiencing considerable pain.

“The manner of Mr Mosley’s death is sadly not an isolated tragedy under the UK’s ban on assisted dying. Even the most expert and well-resourced palliative care has limits, and the exorbitant cost and significant obstacles involved in accessing an assisted death abroad eliminate this choice for most Brits. Without the safe, legal option to die on their own terms at home, hundreds of terminally ill people every year are therefore forced to take matters into their own hands. In the past few weeks alone further heart-rending cases have come to light, including a professor with terminal cancer who deliberately crashed a stolen plane, and a couple suffering with serious health complications who took their own lives together, writing an instruction not to be resuscitated across their foreheads.

“There are warning signs that Britain’s ban on assisted dying has serious patient safety implications which cannot be ignored. We welcome the publication of data from the ONS on suicides by terminally ill people next month, and the CPS’ current consultation on suicide pacts and so-called ‘mercy killings’ which recognises that these acts should be treated differently to serious crimes.

“The public is calling for change; over 55,000 people have signed our petition calling for a full and fair examination of assisted dying in Parliament. Dying people urgently need Parliament to consider whether the status quo is truly fit for purpose, or whether the time has come for legislation that provides choice and control to terminally ill, mentally competent adults and which puts safety, transparency and compassion at its core.’

*ENDS*

For further information and interviews with parliamentarians, Dignity and Dying spokespeople and case studies please contact Molly Pike, Media and Campaigns Officer at Dignity in Dying on 07929 731181 or email: molly.pike@dignityindying.org.uk