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MS sufferer chose starvation over misery

By Ian_Mat  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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A former magistrate from Cheddar suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) chose to end her life by starvation.

Monica Cooke, 74, described as a woman of sharp intellect, arrived at her decision to end her life "in a controlled and rational way," an inquest heard in Taunton today.

Somerset West Coroner Michael Rose listened to widower David Cooke list a catalogue of his wife's interests. But the MS she had been diagnosed with 20 years ago forced her to gradually withdraw from public activities.

Mrs Cooke voiced her wish not to continue life earlier this year. This attitude turned to resolve on August 30 when she told husband David she was to stop eating and preparing to stop taking liquids.

Despite intervention by her GP, Weston Hospice, daughter Miranda and friends she remained resolute and died a week later on September 7 at her home.

Mr Cooke said: "Monica's eventual decision to end her life by starvation was taken in a controlled, and to her, rational way, balancing the ordeal she knew she would suffer, the pain she knew it would cause her family against her future prospects of minimal independence and negligible dignity.

"Only when the balance tipped to favour the greater pain over a short period against prolonged misery did she exercise her right to take her life."

Coroner Michael Rose said normally a verdict of taking one's life would be recorded but in these circumstances he was adopting a narrative verdict.

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