February 25, 2018
Lady Lucan’s suicide club where members share tips on how to end their own lives
The Mirror, Deborah Sherwood & Amy Sharpe
On most days it is a community centre that rings with the joys of life, as noisy kids take part in after-school clubs.
But on this particular afternoon, those gathered here seek only peace. At times, it is so quiet you could hear a needle drop.
This is Exit International, the secretive suicide club which Lady Lucan reportedly visited in the months before she took her life.
The global advocacy group believes anyone of sound mind should have the right to plan their own death, and its members exchange useful tips on how best to achieve that end.
Today, a Sunday Mirror investigation reveals how dozens of people regularly meet to listen to guest speakers, before holding more intimate coffee shop gatherings where they swap tips on avoiding postmortems.
Lady Lucan’s final bitter blast at her children from the grave after cutting them out of her will.
At the workshops, they hear how the drugs they need can be found on Amazon and eBay, and learn to use anonymous email on the “dark web” to stay off the radar of police.
We even heard of desperate elderly folk in Jamaica said to have paid hitmen to end their lives – so their suicide could look like murder.
And one Exit member who told us she believed assisted suicide would eventually become legal in the UK added the chilling prophecy: “But not in my lifetime.”
We launched our probe amid the ongoing debate around assisting suicide, which in the UK can carry a jail sentence of up to 14 years.
Yet a report by charity Dignity in Dying recently revealed that more than half of Brits would consider ending their life at Dignitas in Switzerland if they were terminally ill.
The global advocacy group believes anyone of sound mind should have the right to plan their own death.
UK courts have handled a number of high-profile cases in the last three years of alleged involvement in a loved one’s suicide.
Lady Lucan’s link to Exit International emerged in reports during her inquest at Westminster coroner’s court last month.
The 80-year-old widow of fugitive Lord Lucan committed suicide in September, after wrongly self-diagnosing Parkinson’s disease.
After her death, Exit founder Dr Philip Nitschke tweeted a photo of her, writing: “More tangible evidence of the benefit of
Exit International membership and Peaceful Pill workshop attendance.” Peaceful Pill is the name of the group’s $85 suicide e-handbook.
The group, which claims to have 20,000 members, charges $100 a year for membership– or, bizarrely, a $1,000 “lifetime” fee.
Founded by Dr Nitschke in 1997, it claims to differ from other such organisations in its belief that a person’s right to decide on their own death should not revolve only around their medical condition. It says most of its members, average age 75, are the “well elderly”. A minority are seriously ill.
In Exit’s discussion forums, its handbook, and at its regular meetings, suicide methods and their practicality are freely discussed.
Our undercover reporter attended a gathering last month after obtaining membership.
Around 40 others were at the meeting at Dragon Hall, in London’s Covent Garden. Most in attendance were over 60.
Lady Lucan was said to be unafraid of dying but did not want to be a burden.
Gail O’Rorke, who in 2015 was acquitted of assisting the suicide of friend Bernadette Forde, told the meeting: “Although it was the most terrifying thing I went through, it was the proudest thing.”
She appeared alongside Exit spokesman Tom Curran, whose partner Marie Fleming was denied the right to end her own life in a court ruling prior to her death in 2013.
Mr Curran openly admits helping dozens of people to plan their death.
Outlining his checklist for recommending suicide methods, he said they should be “readily available, peaceful to use – so you don’t have to have a science degree or be an engineer – and quick.”
One member told how, once medically-assisted suicide became legal in Washington State in 2009, other right-to-die issues were soon up for discussion.
Mr Curran responded: “People warned [it would be] a slippery slope. We’ll provide the grease.”
While the law around assisted suicide was made clear at the three-hour talk, speakers also pointed out loopholes.
Advice was given on obtaining killer concoctions, including one used by vets overseas which can be purchased from Mexico, Peru, China and India.
Mr Curran, based in Arklow in the Republic of Ireland, told how one Mexican supplier has a three-month backlog of orders.
He explained: “We’re not in the business of distributing drugs, we’d end up in jail.”
But he hinted European suppliers may offer a “delivery” service.
And he warned members to place orders using the “dark web” –anonymous websites whose users are almost impossible to track – and to pay using the cyber currency BitCoin .
He added: “There is almost everything on the internet if you look hard enough.”
Mr Curran also talked of suicide technology proposed by NuTech, a firm co-founded by Dr Nitschke.
Last year it unveiled plans for its “Sarco” suicide pod for people to gas themselves in.
The blueprint to make one on a 3D printer could be available online within months.
Mr Curran boasted: “Anyone can pull it up, all instructions will be there.”
But after telling how he had offered a $5,000 prize for suicide innovation, he said he was “very disappointed” there was “absolutely nothing new”.
Members were also warned no one named in their will should be involved in their death as it could make it look like murder.
Mr Curran added: “It’s really important not to implicate anyone else.”
As members mingled later they talked of avoiding a postmortem – so their death would not be identified as suicide.
One ex nurse in her 80s told how she never wanted to end up in hospital, saying: “Once in the hands of doctors, you’re theirs. They’re meant to save you”.
Dragon Hall said: “The hall was hired for a meeting. Police advised us it’s legal.”
We help people take control of life.
Exit International coordinator Tom Curran says he was “not aware” Lady Lucan had attended meetings, but said: “My opinion is the same as for anyone else – that it’s a right.
“A person’s life is their own and they have a right to end it, providing they’re capable of rational decisions.”
He said of Exit’s workshops: “We don’t encourage anybody to make any decision. But we feel they can’t do so unless they have the facts.”
And he insisted they do not point out loopholes, but put all such information in their Peaceful Pill handbook.
He added: “People want to take complete control themselves.”