Social workers and other professionals met to discuss the safeguarding of a man who seven months later took his own life at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, it has emerged.
Two people have been arrested on suspicion of assisting the suicide of Douglas Sinclair, a 76-year-old disabled care home resident who had the degenerative neurological disorder, multiple systems atrophy.
Sinclair went missing from the care home on 25 July and is believed to have died at Dignitas three days later.
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council confirmed a safeguarding meeting took place on 20 January to discuss Sinclair. They said: “The meeting was held in response to Mr Sinclair making staff at the home aware of his intention to go to Dignitas.”
Northumbria Police were not involved in the safeguarding meeting or informed of it afterwards.
It has been reported that Sinclair planned his suicide meticulously to ensure that no-one else was implicated. However, the police confirmed the details of the two people arrested have been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The case will be one of the first to test the Director of Public Prosecutions’ guidelines on prosecuting assisted suicide, finalised in February this year. The guidelines allow for people not to be prosecuted if they act purely from compassion, among other requirements.
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