Judge backs Essex WW2 veteran's fight 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 has won his legal battle to die at home after receiving support from a judge.

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

At the High Court, Mr Justice Hayden concluded the "ideal solution" would be for Mr Meyers to return home with a "suitable package of support".

Southend Council said it would support his return home.

Tony Cox, cabinet members for adults, said: "We will continue to work closely with Mr Meyers to offer a range of support to cover all his social care and healthcare needs once he has returned to his home."

'Discharged obligations'

Barrister Katie Scott, who led council's legal team, said he had gone into a care facility a few months ago after being found in difficult circumstances at home.

But former Royal Navy gunner Mr Meyers told a judge he was unhappy living there.

Southend Borough Council's social services bosses said they had "discharged their obligations" to Mr Meyers under legislation relating to social care and human rights.

Mr Justice Hayden disagreed and suggested more could be done.

He added: "I do not intend to be prescriptive as to what the local authority should do."

Mr Meyers did not address Mr Justice Hayden in court, but he spoke to the judge by telephone at preliminary hearings.

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

The judge, based in London, oversaw the hearing in a Southend courtroom normally used by magistrates so Mr Meyers could attend.

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