A bid by UK campaigners to overturn the law on assisted dying has been rejected by the European Court of Human Rights.

Applications by Jane Nicklinson, whose husband Tony had locked-in syndrome, and Paul Lamb, who was paralysed in a crash, were ruled inadmissible.

The court said the UK Parliament was “best placed” to rule on such a sensitive issue.

Mr Nicklinson’s daughter, Lauren, told the BBC she was “devastated” but said the law “has to change at some point”.

“What it means is, people will continue to go to [the Dignitas clinic in] Switzerland, we will continue to export the problem… and people will continue to suffer.”

The 1961 Suicide Act makes it an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt in England and Wales. Anyone doing so could face up to 14 years in prison.

Tony Nicklinson, from Melksham in Wiltshire, was paralysed from the neck down after suffering a stroke in 2005.

He fought for the right to allow doctors to end his life but, after losing a High Court battle in 2012, he refused food and then contracted pneumonia and died, aged 58, at his home.

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