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Terminally Ill Former Soldier Writes Facebook Message Before Ending Life At Dignitas

May 8, 2017

An ex-soldier who once arrested IRA boss Martin McGuinness posted a final message on Facebook before ending his life at Dignitas which read: ‘Dying to do this.’

David Nigel Casson, 62, went to the assisted dying clinic in Switzerland to end his life after a 10-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

His wife Julie Casson added his parting message to his public profile on his behalf so he could explain his brave decision.   

Mr Casson, who was known as Nigel, ended his final post online with the words: ‘I’ve been ‘dying’ to post this! Ha ha ha ha ha!! Thank you and goodbye.’

He did not get the chance to see the 400 responses to his goodbye message as he didn’t want to spend his final few hours ‘glued to Facebook’.

Mr Casson, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, previously served in the British Army as an infantryman in the Duke of Wellington’s regiment during the 1970s.

He had served in Northern Ireland during the turbulent years fighting the IRA.

Mrs Casson claims her brave husband even arrested Irish republican and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness in Belfast.

He left the army due to family commitments after a three-year stint and became a scaffolder.

Mr Casson  – who had been diagnosed with the disease in 2007 and told he had three to five years to live – decided to end his life at the clinic because he didn’t want to ‘feel tombed within his own body’, according to his doting wife.

She said: ‘He talked about it right at the beginning when he was first diagnosed but then put it to the back of his mind.

‘But he did say that when the time was right that he would pursue it. Last August when he decided he was going to pursue it he felt himself becoming significantly weaker.

‘He was having days where he was becoming dispirited. He was conscious if he didn’t go while he physically could he would miss an opportunity.


Mr Casson, who was known as Nigel, ended his final post online with the words: ‘I’ve been ‘dying’ to post this!

‘He didn’t want to get to a stage where he was unable to speak or unable to communicate his feelings and frustrations, and feel tombed within his own body.’ 

In August last year, the father-of-three made the impossible decision to end his life at Dignitas.

Mrs Casson added: ‘By the end he needed help with everything. We had a team of carers giving him round the clock care. He relied on a wheelchair for the last seven years.

‘His limbs were becoming extremely weak, he needed help with everything such as feeding, personal care showering and going to the toilet.

‘He was completely disabled but managed to keep his spirit.

‘Because of his immobility and disability he found comfort in using Facebook, it kept him in touch with the world.

‘He could still manage to touch the screen but also had eye gaze technology to help him.’

He travelled across to the Dignitas in Switzerland by car, accompanied by his wife and three children.

His decade-long battle ended with the words: ‘It gives me great joy, today, to announce that I have found the one and only cure for MND, but it is with great sadness that it means I have had to go to Dignitas in Zurich to end my life.

‘I would like to thank all my Facebook friends for their support and friendship since I joined in 2008, one year into this cruel illness.

‘You have been a tremendous support to me throughout the ten years of this illness.

‘It is such a shame that the laws of this country prevent me from doing this in my own home.

‘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.

‘I’ve been ‘dying’ to post this!! Ha ha ha ha ha!! Thank you and goodbye. Xxx’

The devastating illness deteriorates the victims’ muscles until they can’t move, speak, eat or breathe.

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

In 2007 Nigel was given three to five years to live – he lived for another 10.

His loving wife of almost 40 years, Julie added: ‘He joked and laughed every day. 

‘He was an inspiration to others and helped the rest of us cope with the heart-breaking effects of motor neurone disease.’ 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jeffrey davies permalink
    May 8, 2017 9:37 am

    stand down old warrior rip davies 93

  2. ian minton permalink
    May 8, 2017 12:47 pm

    god bless you brave man and thank you for your service

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