THE husband of a desperately-ill woman was arrested for assisting her suicide, an inquest heard.

In November last year Lorraine Ring, 60, announced to her husband Kit that she had taken a lethal level of painkillers, and asked him not to intervene or resuscitate her.

Mr Ring told the hearing at Bournemouth Coroner's Court that "I didn't know at first if she was telling the truth because she had made similar claims in the past".

Later that day he found his wife of 24 years, who suffered from chronic lung disease, dead on the sofa in the living room of their house in Mudeford.

Paramedics alerted the police after being shown a suicide note Mrs Ring had left on her iPad.

It read: "I Lorraine Ring have taken an overdose of MST tablets in the hope it will kill me. If anyone calls the emergency services, know I do not wish to be resuscitated."

Mr Ring, 67, was arrested on suspicion of assisting a suicide and manslaughter, however the case against him was dropped six months later when police established he played no role in his wife's death.

Mrs Ring, a former market trader, had battled mental health issues for over 25 years and was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder.

She had often spoken about suicide and was known to have attempted to take her life at least once before, when she was a teenager.

She was a heavy smoker, on painkillers for back pain, and had stopped going out by November last year.

Mr Ring told the Bournemouth inquest that his wife had a strong belief that people had "the right to determine their own ending, with no debate".

A retired Open University physics lecturer, he has since spoken in the national press about the need for a change in the law to allow for assisted dying.

Detective Sergeant Ian Allen, of Bournemouth CID, said Mr Ring had co-operated fully with their inquiry, which ended in May this year.

Sgt Allen said: "Kit was arrested on suspicion of assisting a suicide and also manslaughter.

"He co-operated fully with all our enquiries and in May the CPS came to the conclusion that he had no case to answer to.

"We are satisfied that Mr Ring played no part in his wife's death."

A post mortem examination found Mrs Ring's lung disease was terminal, but she did not know this when she died.

Tests concluded the cause of her death was an overdose of morphine medication, and Dorset deputy coroner Richard Middleton recorded a verdict of suicide.