A controversial GP dubbed Dr Death because he helped take people to a euthanasia clinic is to set up Britain’s first “suicide group” in Sussex.

Dr Michael Irwin, who has a home in Cromwell Road, Hove, yesterday (March 17) told how plans for the “Die-alogue” group were under way.

It is due to be launched in Hove in mid-April and already a number of people have expressed an interest in joining.

Members of the group will share advice on euthanasia, the Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas and end-of-life care.

Dr Irwin, who is retired, said he hoped members would help each other travel abroad to commit suicide, if necessary.

He said: “The topic of rational suicide should be discussed.

“I want people to provide one another with financial, moral and emotional support.

“People could support each other by travelling abroad to the Dignitas clinic.

“Sometimes the person who wants to go to Dignitas has no one to help them.

“This group would aim to help that.”

For terminal illness

He said he did not advocate suicide in healthy people but if a person wanted to end their life because of a terminal illness or they were in great pain then they should have this right and their families and friends should not be prosecuted for helping them.

The group will also discuss care plans should a person suffer a serious illness, such as locked-in syndrome or a stroke.

Dr Irwin said: “Some people want to stay alive – they want all the care they can receive – whereas others do not.

“This group would help people make these decisions while they can.”

Dignitas travel

He told how the idea for the group came from the Brighton and Hove Fabian Society, to which he gave a talk recently.

Dr Irwin has also been in contact with an 83-year-old not from Sussex, who has dementia and wants to travel to Dignitas to end his life.

If he goes he will be the first known Briton suffering from the condition to go to the suicide clinic.

The man, whose dementia is at an early stage, has obtained a report from a psychiatrist that said he is “mentally competent” to end his life.

Police co-operation

In 2011 Dr Irwin revealed how a 91-year-old from Eastbourne had contacted him asking about Dignitas.

He did not take her to Switzerland.

However, Sussex Police officers interviewed – but did not arrest – him.

Dr Irwin said he would “not cooperate” with police if officers asked who the people who went to Dignitas were.

He said then: “This is the first time I have not fully co-operated with police.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said the force was not in a position to comment.

Talking Point? To what extent to you support or disapprove of euthanasia for terminally ill people?

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