UK JWs Commit Suicide

by blondie 39 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • blondie


    By Justine Smith And Rosa Prince

    A DISABLED couple flew to a suicide clinic in Switzerland to end their lives - after telling their family they were going on holiday.

    Bob Stokes, 60, and his 55-year-old wife Jennie, who have two grown-up children, took lethal doses of drugs the day after arriving.

    Jennie's mother, Doris Moorey, said: "As far as all the family was concerned they were going for a well-deserved holiday.

    "The first I heard was when their son David told me they had both died in a clinic. I'd heard of these euthanasia places - they call it suicide tourism - but my daughter and her husband were not terminally ill. They were very ill. Jenny was a diabetic and their pain caused them a great deal of misery." Mr Stokes suffered from epilepsy.

    Mrs Moorey added: "I only wish they'd come to me first. I don't know whether I could have done anything. It seems they had made up their minds and had not even told their two children their plans.

    "I believe in euthanasia for those who cannot face a long drawn-out death and are in terrible pain.

    "But what on earth was the clinic doing helping two people commit suicide without any proof that they had terminal illnesses?"

    The couple, who lived in a residential home in Leighton Buzzard, Beds, went to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland because voluntary euthanasia is legal there under a 1941 law, but illegal in Britain.

    Uta Kaletsch, manager of their home, said: "We didn't know they had gone. We were contacted by their solicitor to say they had died."

    Mr Stokes was registered disabled and was unable to work. His wife also suffered chronic backache. Their deaths are being investigated by Zurich district attorney Edwin Luscher.

    He said: "We know they were terminally ill and both were wheelchair users. The person is first examined by a doctor, who demands to see GP notes confirming he or she is terminally ill.

    "Once this is established, they make their way to the Dignitas apartment where they are administered a lethal dose of medicine."

    A family friend said yesterday: "I'm absolutely devastated they felt so desperate to end their lives.

    "I'm also surprised because they were Jehovah's Witnesses and I don't think their church would have accepted their decision.

    "It must have been an incredibly difficult decision for them to make."

    The couple's bodies have been flown home from Zurich and the coroner has been informed. Their funeral will take place tomorrow.

    Motor neurone sufferer Reginald Crew, 74, from Liverpool, became their first British patient to go public about his planned death in January.

    Euthanasia on the increase as British couple commit suicide -15/4/03

    A British couple have been helped to commit suicide by a Swiss euthanasia group even though they were not suffering from terminal illness.

    According to Swiss police
    Robert Stokes, 59, and his wife, Jennifer, 53, flew to Zurich at the end of March, where they drank the poison pentobarbital sodium.

    The couple, from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, were assisted to commit suicide by Dignitas, the Swiss organisation that has aided the deaths of more than 100 people from around the world.

    The Stokeses, who had practised as Jehovah's Witnesses sporadically throughout their lives, suffered from a variety of illnesses none of which were necessarily terminal.

    Mr Stokes suffered from epilepsy, and had not been able to continue his career as a carpenter since an operation on his brain in Australia went wrong. His wife had diabetes, which had recently got worse, and serious back pain after slipping on moss while visiting a friend in hospital.

    In January 74-year-old motor neurone disease sufferer Reginald Crew became the first Briton to publicly travel to the country to kill himself with the help of the group. Five people, including another British woman, arrived in Zurich between March 31 and April 5 and killed themselves.

    The number of so-called suicide tourists is becoming an embarrassment to the Swiss authorities, and alarming anti-euthanasia campaigners.

    Edwin Loescher, a Zurich district attorney, said five assisted suicides in one week was "too many - it's nearly unbearable".

    Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association, which opposes euthanasia, said; "It certainly strengthens my view that it is very difficult to write the law so tightly that you don't get unexpected consequences. That has to give everyone cause for concern, whether they are for or against."

    The couple's bodies have been returned to Britain and an inquest was opened in Luton on April 10.

  • cruzanheart

    Those poor people. I'll bet they were both suffering from major depression and a total lack of love and concern on the part of their spiritual "brothers and sisters."


  • blondie

    I'm sorry, Nina, I forgot how this might affect you. These poor people! I didn't know there were groups that made it easy. I have a chronic illness that gives me chronic back pain, but I have never considered suicide.


  • Gopher

    The second article said they sporadically practiced their faith as Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Sporadic = spiritually weak = do not associate with them, as you might become spiritually weak too.

    The first article said they're having a funeral. Will their JW congregation conduct the funeral service, or will they want to "wash their hands" of the whole affair? I'm guessing the second one.

  • cruzanheart

    I'll bet you're right, gopher. I'm sure a few charitable people will show up but the elders won't touch it. Or if they do they'll take that opportunity to give a "good witness."

    Blondie, dear, thanks for your concern! Yes, it did touch me because of my dad, but it's not devastating for me to read of it -- my heart just goes out to those people and their family. And it keeps me even more resolved to stay away from that toxic organization.

    Lots of hugs,


  • Joyzabel


    just wanted to give you a hug and say, "Friends don't let friends join a cult"

    Thanks Blondie for the info. So sad that these two people had considered that their final answer to their problems.


  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    Life is too precious to throw away. Their problems, whatever they were, could have been solved. Life finds a way. But it's all about choices, isn't it? Do you choose to face your fears, and the problems associated with them, or give up?

    Damn shame.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Hi Tex,

    I am certain that your message was sincere, but I sincerely disagree.

    My point of view is that we live in a universe in which we are forever dead except for a very short time; that aging is about losing your abilities, your firends, and your value to society; and that the "way" life finds is called death.

    There is no one who could have solved the problems those people were experiencing - no prayer group, no imaginary supernatural being.

    I'm sure that their decision was entirely rational.

  • rocketman

    Very sad. We'll obviously never know just what they were thinking, and one does wonder what role the jw thing, if any, had to play in their decision. Perhaps indeed, being considered "weak" spirtually, they were viewed as outcasts or maybe even shunned to some degree. But we just don't know.

  • minimus

    The sad thing is that these JW's, that were probably irregular or inactive would have no support group. Why, if a person didn't value their life and regard it as sacred, they could be disfellowshipped from the congregation. Really, who could or would they talk to? The elders??? They would've told them to make more meetings and get out in service and pray more. If they confided to another Witness about their desperation, they would've been reported to the elders. NOTHING really would have made them physically feel better. However, if they had enjoyed real caring friends, they might have been able to live with their terrible infirmities. Being in their state might be worse than being disfellowshipped. People probably were shunning them because they were weak. Weak people sometimes do irrational things.

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