Glasgow & West Scotland

No charges over Robert Cowie's Dignitas death

Swiss assisted-suicide organisation Dignitas
Image caption Robert Cowie was paralysed in a swimming accident three years ago

A Glasgow woman who took her paralysed son to the Swiss Dignitas clinic so that he could commit suicide will not face charges, police have said.

Helen Cowie told BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye show that she helped Robert, 33, take his own life after he was left paralysed from the neck down.

Following the broadcast last month, police said they would consider the circumstances of Mr Cowie's death.

The Strathclyde force has now decided not to launch an investigation.

Mrs Cowie, from the city's Cardonald area, told Call Kaye that her son was paralysed in a swimming accident three years ago.

'His decision'

She told the radio programme: "His life was terrible, he was suffering every day.

"He was just a head, he didn't want to be there anymore. He had been a big, fit healthy boy.

"We asked him not to do it, but it was his decision."

Mrs Cowie said Robert had not been a burden to the family, but she agreed to help him because he was "really unhappy".

She described the Dignitas experience as "wonderful, relaxed, peaceful and happy", and they listened to the Oasis song Listen Up as her son died.

The song includes the line: "One fine day I'm gonna leave you all behind. It wouldn't be so bad if I had more time."

She said: "We were in Zurich for four days with my three sons and his friend, and one of my sons said it was the happiest he had seen his brother in three years.

"I would rather have been able to do it in this country. That really upsets me that I had to take my son to Switzerland, and I had to leave his body there and wait for the ashes to come back.

"It should be allowed here, but not willy-nilly to everybody. It should be investigated hard because you have to be in a sane mind to have it done."

After considering the circumstances of Mr Cowie's death, Strathclyde Police said they had now decided not to launch an investigation.

A spokeswoman said: "Strathclyde Police is not conducting any investigation into the death of Robert Cowie at this time."

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