A FORMER police officer whose terminally ill mother was assisted to die in Switzerland will make a plea for assisted dying reform next week. 

James Johnson will share how his terminally ill mum Susie was forced to die alone in a foreign country in 2019 without her family at her side, in an effort to protect them from prosecution under the UK’s laws on assisted dying. 

She was terminally ill with Vasculitis Disease which caused kidney failure and went on to attack her other organs and she spent her life savings to travel abroad to end her life.

James, 32, a stepfather of two, is due to speak at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Bournemouth.

James, now a project manager, said: “My mum was a strong woman, but her illness left her with agonising symptoms that palliative care could not help.

"She was not wealthy, but she had to spend her life savings just to have control over her death. This option should not be behind a paywall, but under the UK’s current law, it is.

“The memory of saying goodbye to my mum will always haunt me. Standing there with tears in my eyes, fighting desperately against the urge to run after her down the road, to hug her again, to join her on her final journey. But I couldn’t.

“No other family should be forced into the desperate situation that the current law put us in. If assisted dying had been an option for my mum at home, we could have spent the last few months of her life without the worry of how she was going to die.

"She could have died in her own bed with me holding her hand, not in secret or alone, spending thousands in the process.

“I urge Parliament to tackle this issue and bring about real change for dying people like my mum. They do not have the time to wait.”

James,  from North Baddesley in Hampshire, has since raised more than £12,000 for Dignity in Dying as he says his mother would have wanted choice over how she died in her home country. 

He completed the ‘Fan Dance’, a gruelling 15-mile march across the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales, while carrying 16kg in weight.

He also completed the 'David Goggins, 4x4x48' which is a four-mile run, every four hours for 48 hours in the New Forest

Francesca Hall, campaigns and engagement manager at Dignity in Dying, said: “James’ mum should not have been forced to travel all the way to Switzerland - alone - to have choice over her death.

"Lawmakers in the UK must stop outsourcing compassion to another country because of their own reluctance to address the problems with our assisted dying ban. Few can afford this option and are instead forced to choose between a potentially painful death at home, or taking matters into their own hands in unsafe and often violent means. 

“Assisted dying is this country’s next great liberal reform. Choice at the end of life is a core liberal issue of huge importance to Liberal Democrat members and voters, as well as the country at large."

James will be speaking at a conference fringe event titled ‘Assisted dying: The next great liberal reform’, at the Bournemouth International Centre on Tuesday, September 26.