LONDON, June 25, 2013 ( – Tom Curran, the “partner” of Marie Fleming, a 59-year-old woman suffering from MS who has tried unsuccessfully to convince Irish courts to allow assisted suicide, was detained briefly by UK customs officials as he tried to attend an event in London hosted by Australian euthanasia campaigner Dr. Philip Nitschke. 

Curran is named by Nitschke as the UK contact for his campaign group Exit International. He was stopped on Monday night and questioned at Heathrow airport, but allowed to continue on to the euthanasia workshop. 

Nitschke was also detained and questioned as he entered the UK on Sunday, but was allowed to proceed, despite it being illegal in Britain to advocate for assist suicide. 

After his London workshop Nitschke will be presenting methods of euthanasia to an audience of older and ill people at Dublin’s Liberty Hall on Saturday. Exit International workshops provide practical information on how to commit suicide using drugs, gases and poisons and how to obtain these as well as information on legalities.


Fleming lost her fight in the Irish Supreme Court in March this year to allow Curran to help her commit suicide. Although they declared that her situation was “tragic,” the seven justices also asserted that there is no such thing as a “right” to commit suicide or to be assisted to do so. 

Her suit claimed that an absolute ban on assisted suicide, “disproportionately infringes her personal autonomy rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights”. 

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Last year, Curran was questioned by police in the UK after it was revealed that a woman suffering from advanced MS had committed suicide, and had received a visit from him as a volunteer representative of Exit International. Anne Veasey, 71, who had been diagnosed with depression, died of an overdose of pentobarbital that she had bought online from China. Veasy had read books about committing suicide and had researched the subject on the Internet. 

A court heard that she met with someone from Exit International six weeks before taking her own life with the drugs. Police found correspondence on her computer with Curran, and established that he had visited her. During a voluntary interview with the police, Curran denied having “actively encouraged” Veasey to commit suicide, saying he had only offered “support.” 

A coroner testified that she had been “making plans for some time” to kill herself, and that she had “researched not only the medical condition but also the internet site Exit International.” 

“She had obviously gained some information from that website not least on what drug she should use to end her life.” 

After the hearings, her two sons told the Daily Telegraph, “They told her what she needed to do, how to do it. If someone gives you a loaded gun and then tells you how to use it – are they not culpable?”