Michael Caine: I asked doctor to kill my father
SIR Michael Caine has revealed how he asked a doctor to help his terminally ill father to die. Maurice Micklewhite, a Billingsgate fish market porter, died in hospital at the age of 56 in 1955 after suffering from liver cancer.
• Caine discusses his father's illness on Classic FM tonight Picture: Getty Images
In a radio interview to be broadcast on Classic FM this evening Sir Michael says: "My father had cancer of the liver and I was in such anguish over the pain he was in, that I said to this doctor, I said 'Isn't there anything else you could (do], just give him an overdose and end this', because I wanted him to go and he said 'Oh no, no, no, we couldn't do that.'
"As I was leaving, he said 'Come back at midnight'. I came back at midnight and my father died at five past 12. So he'd done it."
Sir Michael said his father had been given just three to four days to live when he asked the doctor to perform the mercy killing. But he kept the request secret from his mother, Ellen, a cook and a cleaner, who died in 1989.
Asked if he agreed with voluntary euthanasia, Sir Michael, 77, said: "Oh I think so, yeah. I think if you're in a state to where life is no longer bearable, if you want to go. I'm not saying that anyone else should make the decision, but I made the request, but my father was semi-conscious."
Independent MSP Margo MacDonald argued her case for legal assisted suicide in the final session of scrutiny by a Holyrood committee this week. Ms MacDonald, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, appealed to the health and sport committee which has taken evidence from many experts on the issue over her End of Life Assistance Bill.
Ms MacDonald wants to make Scotland the first part of Britain to change the law which currently leaves Scots open to prosecution for culpable homicide.
Last night a spokeswoman for Dignity in Dying, a charity campaigning for the legalisation of assisted suicide and assisted dying, welcomed Sir Michael's confession and called for new measures to allow doctors to help terminally patients die, if it is they so wish.
"It is unimaginably difficult to watch a loved one suffer against their wishes at the end of their life.
"There is an ethical fudge at the moment that prevents doctors from directly helping patients to die at the patient's request, but does allow them to give enough medication to shorten a patient's life, as long as their intention is to relieve pain, not end life," she said.
"This neither protects people properly from potential abuse nor offers a clear choice for terminally ill adults who wish to control their death.
However, Alistair Thompson, spokesman for the Care Not Killing campaign group, said: "There is always an alternative to euthanasia. We are incredibly lucky to have access to amazing palliative care in this country, which is second to none in the world."
In England assisted suicide is an offence which can be punished with a sentence of up to 14 years' imprisonment.
Earlier this year Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions in England and Wales, issued guidelines which stated that a person was unlikely to face prosecution if they acted out of compassion.
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