25. Suicide Voyeur: Why is assisted dying a crime?

25. Suicide Voyeur: Why is assisted dying a crime?

By BBC Radio 5 Live

William Melchert-Dinkle posed as a female nurse online and encouraged people with suicidal thoughts to hang themselves. He even watched some of them carry it out via webcam. He was convicted of assisting suicide and given a prison sentence. But, this is an unusual case.

Does criminalising assisted dying protect vulnerable people or take the power away from people to choose when and how they die?

Geoff Whaley suffered from motor neurone disease and campaigned for assisted suicide to be legalised so his wife could legally help him travel to Switzerland to end his life at Dignitas. He advocated for the right to die with dignity and physician-assisted suicide, where doctors prescribe drugs for eligible patients to self-administer to end their own life.

Tony Nicklinson suffered from locked in syndrome and campaigned for voluntary euthanasia to be legal. Do laws against assisted dying discriminate against people with disabilities?

On this episode of Bad People Dr Julia Shaw and comedian Sofie Hagen discuss whether we can strike a balance between protecting vulnerable people while also empowering people to have autonomy over their own death.

This episode includes audio form Dateline NBC and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

Warning: This episode contains strong language and discussion of suicide.


Presenters: Dr. Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen Producer: Caroline Steel Artwork: Kingsley Nebechi Music: Matt Chandler Series Editor: Rami Tzabar

Academic Consultants for The Open University: Dr. Zoe Walkington Dr. Camilla Elphick

Commissioning Assistant Producer: Adam Eland Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps

Bad People is produced in partnership with The Open University and is a BBC Audio Science Production for BBC Sounds


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