A woman returned from a dog walk to find her husband had attempted to kill himself shortly after filming for a show on assisted dying.
Di Syrett’s husband Trevor planned to have an assisted death in Switzerland but didn’t want to go too early. But he waited too long and became too weak to make the journey with all his equipment.
The Kent couple will feature in a documentary tonight about assisted dying that follows people who want the right to die on their own terms.
After filming stopped, Trevor asked to go home for the day from the hospice and sent Di out to walk the dogs.
When she was just a few fields away from home she received a text from her husband.
The message read: “My dearest friend, lover and wife, I am so sorry for what I have done. I cannot continue with my life the way it is now.
“I can't walk, talk, eat or drink. I'm in constant pain and I'm losing the use of my right arm and leg. I am having trouble breathing and spasms in my throat are increasing.
“I am only bringing forward the inevitable. I love you more than I can say and I thank you for spending your life with me. Your ever-loving husband, Trevor.
“Of course, I wouldn't have to do this if this stupid country allowed assisted dying. You will find me in the workshop. Don't hate me please Di.”
He was found lying on the floor of the shed and Di discovered a syringe and a jug with drug residue at the bottom.
He was taken to the hospice “angry his attempt hadn’t worked” and he refused water. He died 11 days later.
The pair first knew something was wrong in Spring 2021. Trevor asked Di to buy him some throat sweets because his throat felt strange, and then his speech started to become slurred.
A brain scan led to the diagnosis of progressive bulbar palsy, a form of motor neurone disease that results in loss of muscle control and mostly affects speech and swallowing.
In May 2021, he had a feeding tube fitted and was unable to speak soon after.
Dignitas is a Swiss non-profit organisation where people are helped to end their lives. Going down this route costs around £15,000.
Di said in the documentary: “He wanted to die on his own terms. At the time we applied, he was coping with his very restricted life.
“But he always said that if he started to lose the use of his voluntary muscles, he would no longer wish to continue living.”
However, Trevor rapidly declined and became too weak to make the journey.
Di explained: “He said he’s ready now – he wasn’t ready a month ago and now he is – but we can’t do it because it's not an option here and he’s too weak to get to Switzerland.
“He’s said to me on numerous occasions ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore’”.
Trevor wrote on an iPad during the film: “I didn’t want to die grasping for breath”.
There were 11 days between the overdose and Trevor dying.
Di reflected in the film: “I wish I could have driven Trevor to an assisted dying centre in the UK. He said to the doctors, 'It's my body. It's my life.' He should have been able to choose the death he wanted to.”
A Time To Die is on tonight at 10.45pm on ITV and ITVX.