I’m unhappy in care... let me go home to die, pleads war veteran, 97
A BLIND 97-year-old Second World War veteran is battling to persuade a High Court judge to let him leave a care facility and end his life at home.
Mr Justice Hayden began analysing detailed evidence relating to former Royal Navy gunner Douglas Meyers, who lives near Southend, Essex, at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court yesterday.
The judge has left his base in London and is holding the hearing in a Southend courtroom normally used by magistrates to ensure Mr Meyers can attend.
Mr Meyers, who served in Italy and north Africa during the 1940s, arrived at the hearing in a wheelchair and sat at the front of the court clutching a row of campaign medals.
He has already lost two rounds of his fight.
Mr Justice Hayden, who has overseen earlier hearings in London, refused to allow him to go home for Christmas, saying he had safety concerns.
A Court of Appeal judge then refused to overturn that ruling.
Mr Meyers told Mr Justice Hayden at an earlier hearing: “I am a veteran and I am due the respect of a veteran who wants to end his life in his home.
“I did six years in the Navy during the war.”
He told the judge: “I still have my senses. I know what I am doing. I am strong enough to look after myself.”
Now social services bosses at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, who have welfare responsibility for Mr Meyers, have asked the judge to make a decision about what is in the veteran’s best interests.
Barrister Parishil Patel QC and solicitor Laura Hobey-Hamsher, who works for law firm Bindmans, are representing the pensioner for free.
Mr Meyers told the judge he wanted to end his life at home, that he could look after himself and he would receive help from a relative.
He is unhappy at the care facility. “I sit in my room with only my radio to break the silence,” he said
Mr Meyers also stressed he was not frail: “My arms are strong enough to carry things. I am not a frail old man.”
The judge has described Mr Meyers as “extraordinary”.
The hearing continues.
Former Navy gunner Douglas Meyers at court yesterday