Prue Leith tells of her brother's agonising death from bone cancer as she backs calls for assisted dying to be legalised


Prue Leith says her brother died in agony because doctors were afraid of hastening his death under Britain's euthanasia laws.

The restaurateur and TV presenter said David Leith 'suffered months of agony and a horrific death from bone cancer' as doctors wouldn't give him more morphine.

Leith was speaking in support of Noel Conway who suffers from motor neurone disease and brought an assisted dying case to the Court of Appeals.

'David's doctors would not give him enough morphine 'for fear he'd become addicted',' she said, according to the Telegraph.

'The real reason, of course, was the fear of being prosecuted for unlawful killing if the extra morphine should hasten his death. We should not put patients or doctors in this untenable position.'

David Leith died in 2012 aged 74 after working for the Royal Air Force and his sister's company Good Food and moving to South Africa.

He got sick on a visit to Britain and was diagnosed with bone cancer after resisting seeing a doctor claiming he just hurt his back.

David got too sick to travel and in desperation refused antibiotics so a bout of pneumonia brought on by his condition would kill him.

Mr Conway, 68, a retired university lecturer, on Tuesday began a three-day case at the Court of Appeal, arguing the law interfered with his right to die.

Leith was speaking in support of Noel Conway (pictured with his wife Carol) who suffers from motor neurone disease and brought an assisted dying case to the Court of Appeals

Mr Conway was greeted by supporters at Telford Crown Court where he watched proceedings via a video link

The court must decide whether that interference is 'justified and proportionate', and Leith was there to help him argue it was not.

Sir Patrick Stewart also spoke in court of a 'dear friend' who died from cancer to support Mr Conway's case.

Nathalie Lieven QC said the question before the court was not the general issue of assisted suicide but Mr Conway specifically. 

'The question for this court is rather a focused one of whether for this very specific cohort – terminally ill people with less than six months to live – the ban is justifiable because of an impact on the weak and vulnerable,' he said.

Mr Conway was appealing a rejection of his argument that British law violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to respect for private and family life, and Article 14, which protects from discrimination. 

Mr Conway at an earlier court appearance with wife Carol (left), stepson Terry McCusker (centre back) and Sarah Wootton, CEO of Dignity in Dying (right)

Protesters gathered outside the High Court in central London today as the three day hearing began

Terminally ill Noel Conway, suffers with motor neurone disease and is hooked up to a ventilator for 23 hours a day

The educator from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, is dependent on a ventilator for up to 23 hours a day and only has movement in his right hand, head and neck.

He said his current options are to 'effectively suffocate' by choosing to remove his ventilator or to spend thousands of pounds travelling to Switzerland to end his life and have his family risk prosecution.

Activist group Dignity in Dying also showed up, saying people like Mr Conway should be 'shown compassion and respect' but 'outdated' laws forced them to take drastic measures to keep control of their lives.

However, disability group The Distant Voices said the change would be 'dangerous' and made a 'graveyard' outside court to highlight its point.

Nikki Kenward, a campaigner who has Guillain- Barré syndrome, feared consequences of the change as she felt people saw her as having 'no quality of life'.'