I last met Tony Nicklinson two months ago. It was hard then to believe things could get any worse for him but they have, writes Channel 4 News Presenter Cathy Newman.
I didn't need to give the taxi driver Tony Nicklinson's address - he knew it as soon as I told him the name of the town, Melksham, where he lives. The driver had correctly assumed that I was destined for the same place as the rest of the media pack. And when I turned up there were no fewer than four satellite trucks parked outside.
Mr Nicklinson had quite an audience crammed into the small, stuffy room that is his world. And he had a lot to say about losing his legal battle.
But with an active mind trapped in a body he's lost the use of, he had to rely on a specially adapted computer to voice his statement.
The computerised words sounded strangely unemotional, but the outpouring of grief which followed communicated his feelings eloquently.
For seven years now, Mr Nicklinson has wanted to die. But because he was paralysed by a stroke he can't physically take his own life. So he wanted the High Court to change the murder laws so a doctor helping him to take his own life humanely wouldn't be prosecuted. The High Court said that was a matter for parliament - which leaves Mr Nicklinson in despair.
His statement done, and the cameras dispatched, I sat with him and his wife Jane for nearly an hour as - letter by painful letter he blinked out his thoughts on the politicians with whom his fate may now rest.
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They're "cowards" he told me - too scared to change the law on euthanasia because they're "unduly influenced" by a minority will protest.
I last met Mr Nicklinson two months ago, just before he went to the High Court to ask for the right to end a life he no longer wishes to live. It was hard then to believe things could get any worse for him but they have - not just because of today's judgement, but because life as it is is now even more painful.
His wife says: "Things have deteriorated. He's finding posture very difficult. Eating is becoming more difficult. It just seems all of a sudden the few things that he can do are becoming more difficult."
So he's more determined than ever to die.
"He could starve himself," Jane Nicklinson says matter-of-factly. "It's something we've talked about but it's a nasty way to go. It's long and it's drawn out."
Her husband chips in: "It is the choice of last resort."
More from Channel 4 News: 'Starving myself is preferable to a life like this'
He's not quite ready to make that fatal choice, the only choice he has after today and since he's ruled out making the grim pilgrimage to Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal. First he'll appeal the High Court judgement in the hopes that the Supreme Court will look more favourably on his plight.
What would he say to the judge? "Try changing places for a while and see what it's like."
His message is simple if painful: forget about legal precedent and constitutional significance. This is about one man who wants to control his life's end.
16 August 2012
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