I don’t want to be accused of murder, says Rebecca Wilcox on supporting mum’s…

The That’s Life! host, 83, revealed this week that she has signed up to the assisted dying clinic in Switzerland after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in January.

But daughter Rebecca Wilcox said yesterday: “I can’t even say I would support my mum on her journey to Dignitas because if I said that, that’s legally murky.

“Obviously, in my head, I would have thought I would never let her go alone to somewhere like that.

“I’m a busy working mum. I can’t leave my children to pop off to jail while she’s buzzing off to Switzerland.

“The fact is only three people a year get prosecuted. The process of going through a court case at what is the worst time of my life…mum is my person, I do not want to live without her. I will have to live without her.”

Rebecca, 43, pleaded with authorities to not make this part of her life any harder.

She added: “Don’t make it worse for me by accusing me of murdering her and making me go through what would be a terrifying legal process.

“Dignitas does not look like a very lovely place. I would much rather have diamonds and champagne and a hot bathtub. I think mum would too. We both model ourselves on Dame Joan Collins, who is fabulous.”

Rebecca admitted she would want to “ground the plane” should her mother fly to the suicide clinic in Zurich – but fully supports her right to choose how to end her life.

She added: “I know it’s her decision. I just don’t ever want her to go.”

Rebecca, who has taken on her mum’s role as president of ChildLine – the charity the campaigner set up in 1986 – said Dame Esther “never makes a decision in complete isolation, but she doesn’t care what anyone else says”.

Rebecca added: “It’s ­horrific. She always promised us she would live forever. She’s not usually one to break her promises so we’re a little upset about that.”

Mum-of-two Rebecca will host Christmas for the family this year, one her mother did not think she would live to see after her stage four lung cancer diagnosis.

Also around the dinner table will be the redoubtable TV presenter’s other children from her marriage to the late Desmond Wilcox, Miriam and Joshua, and her cherished grandchildren Benji, 11, Alexander, eight, Teddy, eight, and twins Florence and Romilly, five.

Rebecca said: “My brother said living with mum is like living next to a volcano – you don’t know whether the flowing lava is going to be flowers and celebrations or an explosion.

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“She’s never done something to win our approval, it’s always because of what is right. Her early adopting of campaigns is probably the most underrated skill she has. She has a strange zeitgeist, even at 83. She is always on the money and always gets it. She is the person I ring several times a day and see her several times a week. But hell hath no fury like Esther being told no.”

Appearing on TalkTV yesterday, Rebecca added: “To remember her in pain and unhappy would be awful. A waste. Such a waste.”

Dame Esther has spoken candidly about how she still suffers pangs of searing loneliness after the loss of her husband – “my Desi” – in 2000.

She said previously: “Not a day goes by when I don’t think of Desi. The passage of time doesn’t make it any easier. Yes, I am very busy, but I still get terribly lonely.

“It can strike everyone, rich or poor, unknown or famous.”

The documentary maker’s “slow and painful death” battling heart disease is what the TV star wants to avoid. And Rebecca said “denial is something mum and I have in common”. She added: “I know that when my father died, all we thought about for years were those last seconds.

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“Those last moments when it was tubes, blood, beeping, nurses, doctors, a lot of crying. That’s all I could remember of my father for so long.

“Mum has had such a life, such a legacy.” Dame Esther told the BBC’s The Today Podcast earlier this week: “My family say it’s my decision and my choice.

“I explained to them that actually I don’t want their last memories of me to be painful.

“If you watch someone you love having a bad death, that memory obliterates all the happy times. I don’t want that to happen.”

Dame Esther says the effects of her cancer fight mean she cannot help answer the traditional Christmas Day calls from users of The Silver Line phone line for older people.

This frustrates her but she is thankful to be looking ahead to a routine scan in the New Year to see if the “miracle drugs” she has been taking have kept the disease at bay. Dame Esther also told The Today Podcast: “I’ve been taking one of the new targeted drugs.

“I know it cannot cure the cancer.

“But it can hold it back and slow it down a bit.”

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