Wednesday 13 December 2017

Family fears exhumation of 'right-to-die' crusader

Marie Fleming
Marie Fleming

The remains of "right to die" campaigner Marie Fleming could be exhumed as part of a probe into her death, her family fears.

Gardai commenced an investigation into terminally ill Ms Fleming's death last year after her partner Tom Curran admitted in an interview he had "helped her die".

If found guilty, Mr Curran could face up to 14 years in jail.

The family's agony has been compounded by news that the garda probe is continuing and exhumation is now a possible option.

Sources close to Mr Curran, said the latest developments have been "deeply distressing" for the family.

"They have interviewed a large number of people and recently we have heard the possibility of an exhumation, which would be simply monstrous," a source told the Sunday World.

Ms Fleming was laid to rest near Holy Trinity Church in Castlemacadam after her death at the couple's home near Arklow in December 2013.

It is understood gardai in Arklow have interviewed medical staff who assisted in Ms Fleming's care as part of their investigation.

In an interview last year which sparked the investigation, Mr Curran said he felt he had to admit playing a role in his late wife's death as to do otherwise would mean her death had been in vain.

Ms Fleming was in the final stages of multiple sclerosis when she died and went to court seeking the right to be lawfully assisted to die at a time of her choosing without putting loved ones who helped at risk of prosecution.

In 2013, both the High Court and the Supreme Court rejected her challenge to the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act of 1993, which decriminalised suicide but made it a criminal offence to assist another person to take their own life.

She argued the law disproportionately infringed her personal autonomy rights as a severely disabled person unable to take her own life unaided.

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