By Ben Barry

A widow was visited by police after she accompanied her husband to an assisted dying clinic in Switzerland.

Dan Tuckley, 46, went to the hospital with a muscle strain after a heavy weights session at the gym – but tests revealed he had kidney cancer.

It grew five-fold in just a month and doctors told him it was terminal and there was nothing they could do for him.

Just four days later he booked a spot at an assisted dying clinic near Basel, Switzerland – a quest which cost him £20,000

Sarah and Dan Tuckley. (Pix via SWNS)

His family said that Dan wanted to kill the cancer before it had the chance to kill him.

And after a family meal where he ordered food and wine, he was no longer well enough to drink, he was given a syringe filled with drugs.

He died listening to My Way by Frank Sinatra, surrounded by his wife, Sarah, 46, and siblings Kate, 29, Phillip, 48 and Matthew, 36.

In December 2022, Sarah was visited by the police who told her that would not be pursuing what they called an ‘assisted suicide investigation’.

Sarah, a business analyst, from Derby, Derbyshire, said: “I opened the door and they said it was Derbyshire police, I knew there was a risk but when they said police it didn’t even register in my head.

“They said they would not be pursuing an investigation and kept calling it assisted suicide.

“I kept telling them that it was not assisted suicide and it was assisted dying.

“Dan fought for his country and we were made to feel like criminals for bringing something forward that was going to happen in a matter of days.

“It seems alien to me that we don’t have the choice – it is like trying to deprive a woman from having an abortion.

“Dan did not want to pass in a hospital or with people just watching.

“He wanted to pass on his terms with those who loved him the most and most importantly while he was still him.”

In July 2022, Dan had pain in his stomach and thought he had pulled a muscle at the gym.

He went to Derby Royal Hospital that evening “just to be cautious”

A scan the next day, on August 17, showed a mass behind the stomach.

“The vibe was that it would be highly treatable,” said Sarah.

But a second scan showed cancerous cells.

Sarah and Dan Tuckley. (Pix via SWNS)

Then had a PET scan and a biopsy diagnosed renal medullary carcinoma – a rare cancer of the kidney – and he was told he had one year to live.

Within days his symptoms got worse and he was unable to digest food.

Then a month later in September 2022, a scan showed Dan’s cancer had grown five-fold and he was told there was nothing doctors could do and he was sent home.

Dan’s sister, Kate, a teacher, from Gosport, Hampshire, said: “This news was unbelievable.

“No one had even had the time to come to terms with the initial
diagnosis, let alone that we would now be losing him.

“This was so sudden and we knew we needed to be together.

“We’d always had a strong sibling bond.

“We could see how thin and ill he was- unable to eat anything now for over a week and struggling to talk. His condition had progressed so fast – far too fast.”

Since his diagnosis, Dan started researching assisted dying and found a clinic near Basel, Switzerland where he would go to die.

And on September 20 Dan, Sarah and his siblings went on what they dubbed ‘Operation F*ck Cancer’ on a private jet.

Kate said: “We collected the hire car and drove through Switzerland, the backdrop of breath-taking vistas only adding to the utterly unreal situation we were all suffocating inside.

“Tuesday night we stayed in a beautiful hotel in the mountains. Dan came to dinner with us that evening.

“He chose the wine we all drank, because he could not drink it, and he chose a meal, but he could not eat it.

“That is another cruel aspect of this condition.

“Even criminals on death row are granted a last meal, but that was yet another thing stolen from Dan.”

Sarah and Dan Tuckley. (Pix via SWNS)

The next day – his last full one alive – they needed to get £10,000 out to pay for the rest of Dan’s deposit for the clinic.

Sarah said: “It was like we were performing an international heist. All we wanted to do was bring a dying man some peace.

“We were driving around Switzerland trying to get money out and we wasn’t sure if we were going to get arrested or not trying to get all this money out.”

On September 22, 2022, Dan and his family went to the clinic near Basel, Switzerland where Dan died.

Kate said: “Dan wanted music on so we had music on.

“We were all there around the bed, trying to laugh and joke.

“We did our final selfie – the doctor came in and said when he is ready he can go.

“We were talking to him and he said it was time and he was dead within 10 seconds – it was so peaceful and quiet.”

In December 2022, Sarah was getting ready to leave the house when she got a knock on the door.

Sarah and Kate said that the family were made to feel like criminals and that nobody should have to experience it.

Kate said: “They said they had investigated it but there were no charges.

“I am annoyed that she had the police knock on her door and she was on her own.

“That makes me cross, I would have liked to be with her when that happened.

“It makes me furious that our family had to go through this whole process.

“It makes me cross that Dan was in a state where he was going to die.”

Nathan Stilwell, assisted dying campaigner for Humanists UK, said: “This is yet another indication of the overwhelming appetite for our outdated law on assisted dying to be changed.

“There is no issue in public life that the public backs more strongly than assisted dying.”


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