Parents of Dignitas sportsman tell of heartache

The parents of a former rugby player who killed himself in a Swiss euthanasia clinic said that they were "relieved" not to be facing charges over his death.

In a statement read out by their solicitor, Mark and Julie James described the "heartbreaking ordeal" of helping their son Daniel carry out his wish to die at the Dignitas clinic after a rugby accident left him paralysed from the chest down.

Speaking after Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams recorded a verdict of suicide in relation to the 23-year-old's death on September 12, solicitor Adrian Harling said: "My clients are not campaigning or fighting the cause of euthanasia or assisted suicide.

"They purely helped their son carry out his wishes. My clients are relieved that the Director of Public Prosecutions has come to this decision, a decision which many commentators will say is sensible in the circumstances.

"My clients hope that the decision may help others in a similar situation facing similar dilemmas.

"However, every case may, of course, be different and should be judged on its own merits.

"This is still a very distressing time. More so as we approach Christmas, a family time, and Dan's birthday thereafter."

The Crown Prosecution Service announced it would not be bringing charges against Mr and Mrs James, from Sinton Green, Worcester, who made payments to Dignitas, sent documents and made travel arrangements to take their son to Switzerland.

The brief inquest hearing in Stourport-on-Severn was told that Mr James's cause of death was poisoning.

Mr Williams said: "In light of information I have heard, I have no doubt of Dan's intention and therefore record the verdict that Daniel Mark James killed himself."

An accident in a scrum during training in March last year left Mr James paralysed from the chest down, with no independent hand or finger movement.

At the time of his accident, Mr James was in the third year of a construction engineering degree at Loughborough University.

He had since tried to commit suicide three times.