Practicalities and suicide pacts

Charles Cowling

Here’s a highly recommended post over at the Exit blog: Heartache of a death not shared — a helium suicide fails.

It discusses this story as reported by the Times:

Early one morning in September, William Stanton heard footsteps coming up the stairs of his cottage in Somerset. He knew who it was and panicked. “I shouted out: ‘Go away, Nigel, leave me to it, leave me to it!’”

Nigel, a neighbour and family friend, did not go away. He came into the bedroom and found Stanton in distress and his wife Angela lying dead with a plastic bag over her head.

The Stantons had made a pact to end their lives together and put it into effect just days after the director of public prosecutions revealed how he would apply the law prohibiting assisted suicide. It did not work out as they planned and stands as a terrible cautionary example for anybody thinking that self-inflicted death is easily arranged…

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Kathryn Edwards
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Kathryn Edwards

Charles: it’s really good to keep this wholesome organisation in people’s minds. Excellent, helpful reminder.

louise
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Hi Charles / Chris This is the 3rd time suicide has been raised today and I’m so glad that at the end of the day I have been lead to the exit blog… I was drinking coffee in the garden with a chap today, we were talking about what he’d like to happen when in a pained state of no return… I’m not sure what the options are and I have to admit I have a fear that if i was to commit suicide my soul will disappear into no mans land and I’ll never find my husband / my… Read more »

Chris Docker
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Thanks for mentioning the story. I felt very moved while writing it. There are very few failed suicide attempts of this kind that we know of. But it does add to our understanding of how important it is to cover the details. I’ll probably mention Mr Stanton’s traumatic time at our workshops later this year.