AN anguished husband is anxiously waiting to see whether he will be prosecuted after he helped his bedridden wife kill herself.
And after Margaret Bateman suffered years of agony, her husband Michael has called for a change in the law to allow people the right to die.
Details of the couple’s devotion came out at an inquest in Huddersfield on Wednesday, which was adjourned pending any criminal proceedings.
Mrs Bateman, 62, suffered from a mystery condition which baffled medical specialists and remained undiagnosed – and she spent the final three years of her life in terrible pain, bedridden and cared for by her devoted husband.
Mr Bateman is now calling for a change in the law to allow people the right to die saying he did the morally correct thing.
The couple researched suicide techniques on-line and Margaret's devoted husband made the agonising decision to help his beloved wife die using helium gas, just days before their 40th wedding anniversary.
The Crown Prosecution Service are now deciding whether to take Mr Bateman to court. He has been released on police bail facing charges of aiding and abetting his wife to kill herself.
After the opening of the inquest into his wife's death he revealed his unimaginable torment.
The tearful IT consultant, from Birstall, said: “We were married for a few days short of 40 years. She was a brave and courageous woman who lived in agony for many years.
“She was healthy once and worked as an assistant in a care home.
“I had to give up work to look after Margaret full-time. The family were placed in an intolerable situation.”
He added that the desperate couple had even considered a trip to the infamous Switzerland-based clinic Dignitas, which assists suicide, but were “prevented by circumstances”.
Mr Bateman, who has recently been diagnosed with spinal cancer, said: “Margaret was going to starve herself to death but she was threatened with being taken into hospital and force-fed.
“What I did for Margaret was morally right and correct. It’s what she wanted.
“It helped her out of her suffering. If society chooses to lock me up then society needs jolting around the issue of assisted suicide.”
He added that although he is currently on bail waiting to hear if he will be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the suicide, he does not believe he will be re-arrested.
And he called for Dignitas-style clinics to open in the UK, saying: “Dignitas fulfils the needs of many people, that sort of facility should be available everywhere.
“What I did, logically, is no different to taking Margaret to Switzerland.
I helped her commit suicide. Nobody has been prosecuted for going to Switzerland.”
The Department of Public Prosecutions has issued guidelines which suggest that if someone acts out of compassion for a suffering loved one they are unlikely to be prosecuted.
The inquest heard how Margaret first considered suicide a year ago but changed her mind – but on October 20 the loving couple made the unthinkable decision to end her life.
They sent their adult son away from their home and Michael helped his wife commit suicide.
Assisted suicide campaigner Debbie Purdy said a framework was needed to allow people to die without help from relatives.
She said: “I don’t think we should make friends and family the ones that carry out the final act, it is a horrible situation. There isn’t an easy answer, that’s why we need an open and honest discussion.”
A spokesman for Dignity in Dying said: “Ultimately we need a UK assisted dying law which allows the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults at the end of their lives.”