Diane Pretty

Died May 11th, 2002

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of "right to die" British woman Diane Pretty ends her battle to be allowed to be killed, but the horrific way she died could turn her into a martyr for a strengthened pro-euthanasia campaign.

Paralysed, incontinent and left unable to speak in the final months of her life by motor neurone disease, Pretty inspired sympathy and pity during a lengthy quest for her husband to be given immunity from punishment if he helped her commit suicide.

She finally lost her fight to "die with dignity" in the highest court in Europe at the end of last month--and 2 weeks later suffered the painful and undignified fate she had sought to avoid.

Pretty, a 43-year-old mother of two, paralysed from the neck down by the debilitating muscle disorder, died on Saturday afternoon after suffering breathing difficulties and then slipping into a coma last week, her family said.

Her husband Brian, who has campaigned tirelessly at her side, said Diane was "free at last" but his comments, in a statement released by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) on Sunday, were tinged with anger.

"Diane had to go through the one thing she had foreseen and was afraid of going through and there was nothing I could do to help," he said.

Picked by Drunk-As-A-Skunk.