TWO people have been arrested over the death of a 94-year-old Hampshire man.

An 89-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man were held on suspicion of committing an act capable of encouraging or assisting someone to take their own life.

It follows the death of former company director Ralph Saxon Snell, who lived at Lymington.

A post-mortem examination was carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Basil Purdue but proved inconclusive.

An inquest into Mr Snell's death was opened and adjourned at Winchester Coroner's Court.

Senior coroner Grahame Short was told further tests were needed to determine the cause of death and adjourned the inquest until August 9.

New Forest Post:

Last night it emerged that two people had been arrested in connection with Mr Snell's death.

A police spokesman said: "We were called at 9.53pm on Monday, January 28 after the body of a 94-year-old man was found at a house in Lymington.

"An investigation is under way to establish the exact circumstances of the death.

"An 89-year-old woman from Lymington and a 68-year-old man from Somerset were arrested on suspicion of intentionally doing an act capable of encouraging/assisting the suicide of another.

"They have been released from police custody but remain under investigation."

One of Mr Snell's neighbours said: "He was very nice, very easy, but he hadn't been well for the past year or so. He wasn't the same person."

Helping someone to take their own life is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

New Forest Post:

Home Office pathologist Basil Purdue, above.

The issue of assisted suicide is back in the spotlight following the death yesterday of former accountant Geoff Whaley, 80, who killed himself in the Swiss clinic Dignitas rather than endure the final stages of motor neurone disease.

He had earlier written an open letter to the government in which he called for the laws surrounding assisted suicide to be changed.

The letter said: "By the time you read this, I will be dead.

"I have been able to fulfil my final wish: to be in control of my end, rather than endure the immense suffering motor neurone disease had in store for me.

"The law in this country robbed me of control over my death. It forced me to seek solace in Switzerland. Then it sought to punish those attempting to help me get there."

His wife Ann, 76, was twice interviewed under caution by Thames Valley Police after booking the couple's flight to Switzerland.

A police spokesman said a full investigation had been carried out and no further action would be taken.