A Time To Die: ITV documentary about assisted suicide airs tonight - what is the UK's current law on assisted suicide

The documentary follows the story of five people as they battle with their terminal illness
Kim's family including son Josh supported her decision (Image: ITV)Kim's family including son Josh supported her decision (Image: ITV)
Kim's family including son Josh supported her decision (Image: ITV)

An ITV documentary on assisted dying will reveal a mother's final moments before she ends her life, as well as four other stories of people who share their experiences with terminal illness. 

The documentary looks to make a case for changing the law on assisted dying. So what is the documentary about, when is it on and how can you watch it? Here is what you need to know. 

What is A Time To Die? 

A Time To Die is an ITV documentary following the lives of five people who share their experiences with terminal illnesses. It will follow Kim, who was born in Saigon during the Vietnam War, cries as she worries how her husband Andy and their two sons, Josh and Sean, will manage without her but is unwavering on her choice as her pain is "unbearable". She said: "I am fed up with this life because of the pain in my legs, in my calves, in my toes. I’m quite sure because there is no alternative.”

The film also features Trevor Syrett, 68, who was left in constant, untreatable pain and unable to walk, speak or eat due to motor neurone disease (MND).

He uses an iPad to communicate as he and wife Di explain how they began the application process for Dignitas - Swiss nonprofit organization providing physician-assisted suicide.

Others include Phil Newby, 53, a father-of-two with MND, and Dan Monks, 47, who has MS. Dan says: “If I was able-bodied, I would be able to drive myself to Beachy Head and throw myself in the English channel. But I’m not in a position to do that.

“I wouldn’t have done that when I was able to do it, because I haven’t got a death wish. Is it better for my kids to say goodbye to me in the nearer future, get over the grief and get on with their lives, or to have me kind of there, ill, for possibly years?”

Mandy Appleyard also tells of the police investigation she faced after helping her mother, Janet, 83, go to Dignitas after she had suffered two suspected strokes which left her significantly disabled and “completely turned the tables on who she had been”.

When is A Time To Die on?

A Time To Die is on Monday 13 November, at 10.45pm on ITV and ITVX. 

What is the law on assisted dying in the UK?

In the UK, assisted suicide is defined as the act of deliberately assisting another person to kill themselves. If a relative of a person with a terminal illness obtained strong sedatives, knowing the person intended to use them to kill themselves, the relative may be considered to be assisting suicide.

Under the UK law, both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. Assisted suicide is illegal under the terms of the Suicide Act (1961) and is punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment, and depending on the circumstances, euthanasia is regarded as either manslaughter or murder. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

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