‘I wanted to die while I’m happy and can still smile’

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An ‘inspirational’ man bid an emotional farewell to his friends and family from Dignitas after suffering with motor neurone disease for 10 years.

David Nigel Casson, known as Nigel, posted his final heartbreaking message on Facebook, telling friends he was ending his life at Dignitas in Zurich, Switzerland, last week.

The 62-year-old grandad, who lived in Scarborough and was from Cleckheaton, wrote: “It gives me great joy, today, to announce that I have found the one and only cure for motor neurone disease, but it is with great sadness that it means I have had to go to Dignitas in Zurich to end my life.”

In the tear-jerking post, Nigel added: “My decision was arrived at because I wanted to take back control of my life and take the victory of killing me away from this disease.

“I wanted to die while I am happy and can still smile and not be controlled by this wicked disease any longer. I wanted to die with dignity instead of being tortured.

“Some people may think it’s the easy way out but believe me it’s not easy to leave your loving family and friends.”

In 2007 Nigel was diagnosed with the disease, which deteriorates the victims’ muscles until they can’t move, speak, eat or breathe.

About 50 per cent of people diagnosed die within 14 months and very few survive beyond five years.

In 2007 Nigel was given three to five years to live.

Nigel’s wife of almost 40 years Julie Casson said: “Nigel was a very realistic man and did not moan about his fate. He decided to keep a positive attitude throughout. He embraced what was to be the rest of his life with exceptional good humour, maintaining good spirits to the end.”

The couple met in Cleckheaton in 1975 and moved to Scarborough in 1984.

In August last year Nigel made the decision to end his life at Dignitas.

Julie said: “He loved to smile, to laugh and be happy. He was not prepared to let motor neurone disease stop that.”

Mr Casson was a respected member of the business community and ran DNC Scaffolding Ltd and Roofcare (Northern) Ltd with his business partner Glyn Simpson.

A supporter of the Dying with Dignity campaign, in his final message Nigel said: “It is such a shame that the laws of this country prevent me from doing this in my own home.”