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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Assisted suicide accused 'tried to dissuade friend'

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Gail O'Rorke at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she has pleaded not guilty.
Gail O'Rorke at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she has pleaded not guilty.

The trial of a woman accused of assisting the suicide of her friend has heard that the deceased's nephew had "no problem" helping her travel to a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland.

Bernard Forde Monaghan told the trial that his aunt, Bernadette Forde (51), who suffered from a severe form of multiple sclerosis, wanted to end her life on her own terms and that nobody could have persuaded her to change her mind.

The witness said he was asked by the accused, Gail O'Rorke, to travel with them to Dignitas. He said he presumed he was being asked along to help with heavy lifting such as assisting the wheelchair-bound Ms Forde off the plane.

alerted

Mr Forde Monaghan said he had no problem helping but that he didn't know when it was going to happen. The trial heard that the plan to go to Zurich was later interrupted when the travel agent alerted gardai.

O'Rorke, who was a friend and carer to the deceased, is accused at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of helping her commit suicide by assisting her in obtaining and taking a lethal drug after the failed attempt to travel to Dignitas.

O'Rorke (43), a taxi driver, of Kilclare Gardens, Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting the suicide of Ms Forde by helping her to procure and administer a toxic substance between April 20, 2011 and June 6, 2011 at a location in Dublin.

She also denies that she attempted to aid and abet the suicide of Ms Forde by means of attempting to arrange travel to Zurich for such purpose in 2011.

She further denies that she procured the suicide of Ms Forde between June 4 and June 6, 2011 by means of making funeral arrangements for Ms Forde in advance of her death.

Mr Forde Monaghan told prosecuting counsel Remy Farrell SC that his aunt first brought up Dignitas after the death from cancer of her sister Marcena Forde in 2010.

"She wanted to go on her own terms," he said. "She said she didn't want people looking after her the way Marcena was looked after. She didn't want men to be bathing her or dressing her."

The witness agreed that Ms Forde didn't give up on the idea of ending her life on her terms when the Zurich trip was abandoned and that she said "pills might be the way to go".

Caring

He told Anne Rowland BL, defending, that he saw Ms O'Rorke as a warm, humorous, caring person who confided in and had a laugh with Ms Forde.

The deceased's sister, Catherine Campbell, told the court that when Ms Forde told those close to her about her plan to go to Dignitas everyone tried to dissuade her, including Ms O'Rorke who discussed different options such as care homes.

The trial continues.

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