Police arrest two after North East man's assisted suicide
Sep 2 2010 by Andy Hughes, The Journal
A RETIRED engineer is believed to have become the first person from the region to travel to an assisted suicide clinic to end his life.
Douglas Sinclair, 76, died in Switzerland last month, after suffering from the rare debilitating disorder multiple system atrophy for two years.
The father-of-one of one is understood to have chosen to take his own life on July 28, after his body began to shut down at Stapleton House Care Home, Jarrow, South Tyneside, where he was being cared for. According to the priest who oversaw Mr Sinclair’s funeral, he passed away in a Dignitas clinic in Zurich.
Friends said keen golfer Mr Sinclair, fondly known as Dougie, had been devastated by the loss of his wife Monica to leukaemia 10 years ago.
Last night it emerged two people from South Tyneside had been arrested on suspicion of helping a severely disabled pensioner commit suicide.
Police confirmed a 47-year-old woman and a 48-year-old man, both from South Shields, had been released but remained on police bail as detectives continued to investigate.
Lawyers for Mr Sinclair, who until his illness had lived on Highfield Drive, South Shields, yesterday said they had represented both suspects at South Shields Police Station, where they were questioned earlier this month, on their return from Switzerland.
Solicitor Christopher Potts, of South Shields-based firm Patterson, Glenton & Stracey, said: “The police are quite correctly carrying out an investigation so that an appropriate report can then be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“The DPP will then decide if the case is likely to bring a conviction and also if it is in the public interest.”
Under guidelines published by the DPP in February, relatives of terminally ill patients who travel with them to help with a mercy killing are “unlikely” to be prosecuted.