Essex

Blind Essex WW2 veteran fights to die at home

Douglas Meyers Image copyright PA Images
Image caption Douglas Meyers attended court holding his World War Two campaign medals

A blind 97-year-old World War Two Royal Navy gunner is fighting a court battle to leave his care accommodation and finish his life at home.

Douglas Meyers, who lives near Southend in Essex, has twice been refused permission to return home.

Mr Justice Hayden is analysing evidence at a public trial in the Family Division of the High Court.

He has safety concerns and fears for the pensioner's life. Southend Borough Council wants him to make a ruling.

The judge has left his base in London and is overseeing the hearing in Southend Magistrates' Court so Mr Meyers can attend.

Mr Meyers, who served in the Italian and north African theatres arrived at Monday's hearing in a wheelchair and sat at the front of the court holding a row of campaign medals.

'Extraordinary man'

Mr Justice Hayden said all evidence and care options had to be analysed before he would consider letting Mr Meyers leave care.

Lawyers representing social services at the council have asked the judge to make a decision about what is in the veteran's best interests.

Barrister Parishil Patel QC and solicitor Laura Hobey-Hamsher are representing the pensioner for free.

Both sets of lawyers agree Mr Meyers has the mental capacity to make decisions.

Mr Meyers had rejected offers of care at his home and social services bosses had taken the view that they could not "force" care on him, the court heard.

The judge has described Mr Meyers as an "extraordinary man".

Mr Meyers had told Mr Justice Hayden he was a war veteran who deserved "some respect at my age".

"I am a veteran and I am due the respect of a veteran who wants to end his life in his home," he had said.

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