Australian grandmother pleads for dignified death

A 70-year-old Australian grandmother is calling for the law to be changed so she can have a dignified death with her friends and family by her side.

A 70-year-old Australian grandmother is calling for the law to be changed so she can have a dignified death with her friends and family by her side.

Nancy Crick fulfilled one of her last wishes by attending her granddaughter’s wedding last week.

Today, ravaged by bowel cancer, she said she intends to take her own life on April 10.

Under Queensland law, anyone witnessing her suicide could be charged with aiding the act - which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Crick wants the laws relaxed so that she will not die alone.

Arriving to a standing ovation at a euthanasia rights meeting in Queensland’s Gold Coast city today, Crick said she hoped her death would help others seeking a dignified end to their life.

She said she plans to take a fatal dose of the barbiturate Nembutal.

’’It is most important, and I just hope that I do some good out of this,’’ she said.

Crick has invited euthanasia rights activists who have expressed an interest in attending her suicide, sending them the keys to her home.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has refused to relax the law in order to let Crick’s loved ones stand by her death bed.

Australia’s most vocal euthanasia rights campaigner, Dr Philip Nitschke, said ‘‘unjust laws should be broken.’’

Nitschke became famous in 1996 when Australia’s Northern Territory legalised mercy killing. He performed euthanasia on four people before Prime Minister John Howard’s conservative federal government overturned the legislation.

Crick’s offer of keys to her home was ‘‘macabre and, I would suggest, contrary to the law,’’ Right To Life Australia president Margaret Tighe said.

’’I call upon Queensland Premier Beattie to send police to put an end to this deadly media circus,’’ Tighe said.

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