Son investigated over mother's suicide

A DEVOTED son is being investigated by police after his desperately ill mother committed suicide at a Swiss clinic run by a group supporting euthanasia.

By Sharon Asplin

A DEVOTED son is being investigated by police after his desperately ill mother committed suicide at a Swiss clinic run by a group supporting euthanasia.

Stefan Sliwinski is at the centre of a legal nightmare after the death of his mother, Valere, whose body was ravaged by cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Yesterday, the 34-year-old confirmed he had been arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting a suicide. He was interviewed by detectives on Saturday and released on police bail until August 19 for further inquiries.


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He said: “I wish I could have made her better but there was no hope of that and she was in so much pain. It was no life and she wanted to die.”

Mrs Sliwinski, 58, died in a clinic in Zurich run by euthanasia group Dignitas on Friday April 28, after travelling there from their home in Clacton.

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But last Wednesday, six police officers raided the home and took away documents and a computer as part of a probe into her death.

Mr Sliwinski said: “I have got nothing to hide.”

He was with his mother when Dignitas doctors gave her the all-clear to die after checking while on video camera that she understood what would happen if she took the drugs.

Mr Sliwinski, who is married to 33-year-old Nikki, said: “She picked up the glass and drank it like a tequila slammer. She knocked it back in one go and placed the glass down fairly hard.

“She said she felt tired and said she wanted to lay down. I lifted her head and she looked at me. She said 'I love my family' and I said 'Send my love to Dad and I love you mum' and then she went to sleep.”

Mrs Sliwinski, a former auxiliary nurse, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1980s and in 2000 - the year her 75-year-old Polish husband Tadeuss died - she found out she had cancer of the bladder.

The disease spread to her bowel but abated after treatment. However, two years ago secondary tumours were found and they could not be removed.

Mr Sliwinski said: “My dad died of cancer and he suffered an awful death. When my mum found out she had cancer in 2000 she said then that she didn't want to get like that.”

Last year, she transferred £2,500 to Dignitas and started the process which ended with her death. Trucker Mr Sliwinski, who held a special party for his mother so she could say goodbye to her close friends and family, said: “Right up until she drank the fatal drugs, I kept telling her she could change her mind at any time.

“I was really hoping she would change her mind because I really didn't want it to happen. But she was so calm and relaxed. She was finally getting what she wanted - a release from all the pain and suffering she has endured.”

After her death, the Zurich clinic alerted local police and prosecutors so it could satisfy itself there was nothing untoward. She was cremated in Switzerland and her ashes will be returned to Mr Sliwinski.

Essex Police confirmed it had begun an investigation after receiving a complaint from Mrs Sliwinski's family - the first case of its kind officers in the county have investigated

A spokeswoman said officers were now seeking legal advice before deciding how to proceed. Issues that need to be cleared up include whether anyone had committed any offence by helping Mrs Sliwinski travel to Switzerland. She said there was no suggestion anyone had committed an offence in

Switzerland.

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

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