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News round-up: Tony Nicklinson's euthanasia case in the High Court

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Vaughan | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 22 June 2012

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This week, the case of Tony Nicklinson, 58, from Melksham in Wiltshire, has reached the High Court.

As the result of a stroke in 2005, Tony has 'locked-in syndrome' - meaning that he is paralysed from the neck down and cannot speak, though his mind is still fully functioning. He communicates using small head and eye movements, either pointing to a board of letters held by another person or via a computer equipped with software controlled by blinking and eye tracking.

Tony describes his life as a "living nightmare" in which he is dependent on other people to do everything for him. The severity of his paralysis means that he's unable to take his own life, so he wants a doctor to be allowed to lawfully kill him.

As the BBC's medical correspondent Fergus Walsh points out, this is a major challenge to the law on murder and amounts to an appeal to allow euthanasia. It goes much further than previous 'assisted suicide' cases, such as that of Diane Pretty, who in 2001 appealed to the House of Lords to allow her husband to assist in her death.

Tony has the support of his family, but the government's position is that a ruling in Mr Nicklinson's favour would authorise murder.

The hearing started on Tuesday and is expected to last four days, but a ruling will not be made until a later date.

More of the week's headlines

Autism: Child diagnosis in Wales can take seven years (BBC News, Friday 22 June)

Hate crime: Support calls for people with learning disabilities (BBC News, Thursday 21 June)

Are there mental tools that can help alleviate mental illness? (The Independent, Thursday 21 June)

Police 'overlook vulnerable antisocial crime victims' (The Guardian, Wednesday 20 June)

Out on a limb? (BBC News, Wednesday 20 June)

Christopher Wakeman's mum 'angry' at care home over bridge death (BBC News, Wednesday 20 June)

Mental health of benefit claimants is put at risk by welfare reform (The Guardian, Wednesday 20 June)

The bipolar explosion (The Guardian, Wednesday 20 June)

Polio eradication at risk, warns report (The Guardian, Wednesday 20 June)

London 2012 Paralympics: 7/7 bomb victim Martine Wiltshire announced in GB women sitting volleyball team (The Telegraph, Wednesday 20 June)

Hate crimes against disabled people soar to a record level (The Independent, Tuesday 19 June)

Kenny Edgar's 98km taxi trip for benefits assessment (BBC News, Tuesday 19 June)

Blind cooking: 10 tips from chefs (BBC News, Tuesday 19 June)

Improve post office access for sensory loss customers, calls made (BBC News, Tuesday 19 June)

Jack Osbourne: MS diagnosis highlights mysteries of the disease (The Guardian, Tuesday 19 June)

Unpaid carers being 'let down by failing social care' (BBC News, Monday 18 June)

Carer Tracey Sloan sacrificed her own health for her disabled son (BBC News, Monday 18 June)

Research shines light on childhood multiple sclerosis (BBC News, Monday 18 June)

'Shocking discrimination' in mental health services (BBC News, Monday 18 June)

Jack Osbourne diagnosed with MS, Ozzy and Sharon reveal (BBC News, Monday 18 June)

Do we need a minister for mental health? (BBC Radio 4, Today, Monday 18 June)

Autism photographic competition winner (BBC News, Monday 18 June)

Wrongly accused Essex mother wins council apology (BBC News, Monday 18 June)

Design for knife: can cutlery help people with disabilities? (The Guardian, Monday 18 June)

Samantha Cameron opens up about her late son Ivan (The Telegraph, Monday 18 June)

Fathers 'struggle to cope with pressures of caring for disabled children' (The Observer, Sunday 17 June)

Disabled and elderly see their day centres and key services disappear as budget cuts bite (The Observer, Sunday 17 June)

Court rejects Canada's ban on assisted suicide (The Guardian, Saturday 16 June)

Exhibition lays bare the secrets of paralympic success (BBC News, Saturday 16 June)

World's first autism show offers a chance to shine (The Independent, Saturday 16 June)

Anorexic woman should be fed against her wishes, judge rules (The Guardian, Friday 15 June)

Moving revelations reveal Parliament's better side (BBC News, Friday 15 June)

Anger over autistic girl's locked bathroom ordeal at Flintshire school (BBC News, Friday 15 June)

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