'Do not resuscitate' gran dies aged 83

By Hamish McNeilly

Paula Westoby died aged 83. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Paula Westoby died aged 83. Photo / Otago Daily Times

Euthanasia campaigner Paula Westoby has died at her home.

The 83-year-old Dunedin grandmother made headlines in December 2008 when she had "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" tattooed on her chest.

The outspoken convener of the voluntary euthanasia support group Exit International was a supporter of Sean Davison, who helped his cancer-ridden mother die.

Exit International founder Philip Nitschke praised Ms Westoby, who died this week, for her work in euthanasia and was saddened to hear of her death.

"We had no idea this was going to happen."

The pair had been in regular email contact about going to South Africa to visit Davison.

"Mum thrived on death ... it was the only thing that kept her going," Jonathan Westoby said from Auckland yesterday.

He said he was contacted on Monday morning by a Dunedin funeral home to say his mother had telephoned them about possible funeral arrangements.

Mr Westoby contacted his Dunedin-based brother, Simon, who found their mother in her flat.

St John was called, with staff later confirming her dead at the scene, and police were contacted.

The home was initially treated as a crime scene but her death has since been referred to the coroner.

A post-mortem examination was expected to be done today.

A service will be held at Gillions Chapel in Dunedin on Friday at 9.30am.

- Otago Daily Times

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