Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Husband to share euthanasia story

We're catching up with people who made the news in 2013. Today: Evans Mott

Evans Mott says how you die should be your and your loved ones' choice, not that of the state. Photo / Greg Bowker
Evans Mott says how you die should be your and your loved ones' choice, not that of the state. Photo / Greg Bowker

Christmas is especially tough for Evans Mott. His wife Rosie shared a final Christmas Day with family before ending her life two years ago today.

The 55-year-old was ravaged with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis, a degenerative condition for which there is no cure. Her frustration is clear to anyone who watches her video diary, as she describes how the tremors in her limbs were getting "shakier and shakier". Rosie could not heat meals in the microwave, or even touch her nose.

"Every morning I have yoghurt that I eat. Now I can't get the teaspoon in the yoghurt, then the teaspoon in my mouth. So I drink it. Pathetic," Rosie said in the video. "It brings new meaning to the words a person can be their own worst enemy."

So she asked her husband, a master boat builder, to leave her alone in their Auckland home and he returned hours later to find her dead. He was relieved she looked peaceful.

He told the police everything; he helped his wife research suicide methods and assemble a kit with which she could kill herself. Mr Mott was later charged with assisting suicide - which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison - and pleaded guilty soon after. But Justice Patricia Courtney ruled that the consequences of a conviction for Mr Mott would be out of proportion to the gravity of the offence and discharged him without conviction.

Because of his age, he did not have many working years left. He did not have a criminal record, was unlikely to offend again, was of good character, had told the police everything and pleaded guilty at the earliest stage.

"You acted out of love and in support of your wife," Justice Courtney said. "I wish you well."

Rosie Mott
Rosie Mott

That was September last year. Two weeks later, Mr Mott was in Spain helping to build the America's Cup challenger Artemis and has since shifted to Portugal to build boats.

This week he achieved his goal of paying off his legal fees by December 28 - the second anniversary of his wife's death.

Mr Mott has also kept himself busy by constructing the prototype for a modular home concept which will use specialised containers that can be packed up and shipped around the world. Once the prototype is complete, he'll return to New Zealand to seek backers to start production. But the next project is to finish and publish a short book telling Mrs Mott's story and highlighting what he believes are the problems around the current euthanasia laws.

"There are so many people suffering unnecessarily and dying alone and unloved. I want to make the point that this is not how it should be, that it is your life, how to live and how you die should be your and your loved ones' choice, not that of the state," said Mr Mott.

"I intend to publish that message to achieve something positive from all the suffering that Rosie endured and as an accolade for someone who was so courageous and an inspiration to those who knew her."

He thinks about Mrs Mott every day. "I miss how she was and this time that would have been our time together if things hadn't gone wrong. I feel her spirit still, as I know others who knew and loved her do too," said Mr Mott. "For me this time of the year is a time for quietness and contemplation rather than celebration."

- NZ Herald

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