|Father has final meal with family before killing himself with their blessings|
Before he took his life at the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic, the keep-fit fanatic said:
“I am going before my time but I am not scared.I believe what I am doing is in the best long-term interests of my family.They disagree with that of course but they accept I have my own opinion.”
His wife, Elaine, 53, and daughters Keleigh, 21, Courtney, 19, and Camryn, 15, were with him at the clinic near the Swiss city of Zurich.In a statement, the family said they backed Jeffrey’s decision to die “100%”.
They were all pictured together, smiling through the pain, as they shared a final meal with friends, the day before he swallowed the poison that killed him.
His final days were captured by a film crew, which will produce a video tribute for his wife and girls.
Hours before his death, the dad-of-three, who had lived with the tumour for six years, said:
“I wanted control of the final stages of my life.I was a fit and healthy person and my life has been turned upside down.What started as backache in 2008 soon developed into an illness which led me to having to make this most awful decision.Friends and, most of all, my family have urged me not to go through with it.”
“I was always a very fit person and loved sport.It was when I collapsed at a London hotel with a sore back and stiff neck I should have realised something was badly wrong.I just thought I had overdone things.I had gone to London for a retirement party and my legs went in the HOTEL ROOM. I got back home and booked in for an MRI scan.The phone call from the clinic afterwards asked me to go back for another scan which revealed a large tumour high up in my spine.It was in and around the spinal cord.My surgeon was confident he could remove the tumour but tests revealed it would be too dangerous.
“I looked at different forms of radiotherapy and finally underwent surgery in 2009.He did not even attempt to remove the tumour because it was too dangerous.I woke up thinking it would be out but he told me he could not even take a biopsy.”
The tumour, which could not be removed, meant Jeffrey faced the prospect of being paralysed.
He told friends that he was a “walking timebomb” because paralysis could strike at any time. Jeffrey had surgery to relieve some pressure from his spine.It offered a little relief but the tumour had continued to grow.Jeffrey said:
“Had it been lower down the spine and I lost the use of my legs I would have been distraught but I could cope.Where it was meant total paralysis from my neck down.The condition got worse and I made my decision to go to Dignitas. I know I am going too early but I had consistent thoughts without peer pressure.It had to be a settled decision by a sound mind. If I am paralysed and cannot speak what hope is there?Send me to the spirit world. I am a proud person, a dignified person, independent and self-motivated. It is me who is doing this.”
The director of several advertising and internet companies said:
“I want my family to have a good life.I want them to move forwards. If they cared for me and I got better – fine. But I won’t.Some people will criticise me but do not judge me. Never judge anyone unless you have worn their shoes.
“I believe in my human right to dignity. I want the ability to have a cup of tea and hold a phone. I want to be able to do those things myself.”
After saying goodbye to his heartbroken family, his final moments swallowing a dose of barbiturate were filmed at Dignitas as evidence it was not administered by staff.
Within five minutes he lapsed into a coma then died. He was cremated in Switzerland.
His wife and daughters flew back to Britain after his death on Friday.