A wife has been arrested with her son after police suspected they were preparing to take her husband to Switzerland to kill himself, The Argus understands.

A 25-year-old man and a 65-yearold woman from the Chichester area have been arrested on suspicion of encouraging or assisting a suicide.

Officers are currently having the mental capacity of a “vulnerable”

71-year-old male assessed to determine whether he would have been able make the decision to go on his own free will. The move to arrest the pair has been criticised by right to die campaigners.

The man and woman were questioned by police and have both been released on bail without charge until October 8 while officers carry out further inquiries.

It is believed the wife and her son were preparing to take her husband, who was known to West Sussex County Council social workers, to the controversial Dignitas clinic in Zurich.

About 200 British people are believed to have died at the Swiss clinic over the past decade without any families or relatives accompanying those individuals ever being prosecuted.

The pair were arrested under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 on suspicion of encouraging or assisting suicide.

Officers are investigating whether any crime has been committed or would have been likely to be committed if they had not taken action.

Hove-based euthanasia campaigner Michael Irwin said: “It is ridiculous to arrest anybody under these circumstances.

“Every year up to 30 people go to Switzerland with relatives or friends and no action is ever taken against them.

“I hope the local police would take direction from authorities in London or from the CPS before taking this action. To my knowledge nobody has been arrested in this possible situation for the last three years.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “This not the first into an allegation of assisting a suicide in Sussex. The investigation is looking into what steps, if any, the suspects had made towards taking the 71-year-old man out of the country.

“If it is confirmed that the 71- year-old has the mental capacity to make decisions for himself then we would not be able to prevent him travelling.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “The police have worked in partnership with us and in view of the fact that two people are on bail it would be inappropriate to comment further.”