Man Left House So That Wife Could Die

PUBLISHED: 09:32 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010

A HADDENHAM man has told the Ely Standard how he left the house he shared with his 72-year-old wife in the full knowledge that she was going to commit suicide. In a candid interview, Michael Grosvenor Myer admitted that he knew his wife Valerie was going

A HADDENHAM man has told the Ely Standard how he left the house he shared with his 72-year-old wife in the full knowledge that she was going to commit suicide.

In a candid interview, Michael Grosvenor Myer admitted that he knew his wife Valerie was going to take her own life in August last year and wants the law regarding assisted suicide changed.

Mrs Grosvenor Myer was suffering from Parkinson's disease and was adamant that her husband should not be around when she carried out the act as she did not want him to be liable for possible prosecution. She put 120 sleeping pills in a kitchen blender and as she was preparing the lethal cocktail her husband walked into the room and she suggested that he go off to the library.

"Valerie's decision was hers, but she had my support and co-operation," said Mr Grosvenor Myer.

The retired teacher, folk singer and theatre critic, returned home from Cambridge University Library that evening to find his wife dead in the bathroom.

He has decided to speak out now because of recent publicity regarding a change in the law on assisted suicide.

The couple, who spent 30 years together living at West End in Haddenham, felt the pace of their life slow as Valerie's disease took hold over a period of 10 years.

"To those who have been arrested for assisted suicide, I say, just as in my case, that it is their business and not the business of those self-appointed arbiters who decide to pronounce from their soapboxes what they want us to do with our lives," he insisted.

Mr Grosvenor Myer has added his voice to that of Debbie Purdy, a former marketing executive with multiple sclerosis who in October lost her High Court battle to get the law on assisted suicide clarified. She has said she intends to appeal the decision.

Facilitating or assisting a suicide carries a sentence of up to 14 years' imprisonment but prosecutors have showed themselves unwilling to impose maximum sentence.

Earlier this year, the parents of 23-year-old former rugby player Daniel James were questioned by police on their return to Britain after taking their paralysed son to die in at the Swiss "suicide clinic" Dignitas - the only clinic in Switzerland which accepts foreign nationals.

Asked if he felt guilty about not being with Valerie at the end of her life, Mr Grosvenor Myer said: "She always said she didn't want to be a burden. We had a very open marriage and I told her that, 'yes', she was a burden but it was a burden I would rather live with than not. I feel no guilt about what has happened - it was her decision."

Mr Grosvenor Myer confirmed he has not been contacted by Cambridgeshire police since his wife's death.

"I was told by the coroner that I didn't need to be present at the inquest or give evidence if I didn't want to, and as far as I was concerned that was the end of it."

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