Tony Nicklinson was a "very active and outgoing man" before tragedy struck when he suffered a stroke while on a business trip to Athens in 2005.

It left him paralysed below the neck and unable to speak - and he now wants a doctor to be able to end his "intolerable" life lawfully.

Ruling today that his High Court action can proceed, a judge in London described how Mr Nicklinson, who is married with two grown-up daughters and lives in Melksham, Wiltshire, now communicates by blinking or limited head movement.

Mr Justice Charles said Mr Nicklinson and his wife Jane had made statements "which describe in vivid and moving terms the predicaments of the claimant, his wife and two daughters".

In his written ruling the judge included Mr Nicklinson's first statement in the proceedings in which he describes what happened after his stroke and how he feels about his life now.

Mr Nicklinson said: "It left me paralysed below the neck and unable to speak. I need help in almost every aspect of my life.

"I cannot scratch if I itch, I cannot pick my nose if it is blocked and I can only eat if I am fed like a baby - only I won't grow out of it, unlike the baby.

"I have no privacy or dignity left. I am washed, dressed and put to bed by carers who are, after all, still strangers. You try defecating to order whilst suspended in a sling over a commode and see how you get on.

"I am fed up with my life and don't want to spend the next 20 years or so like this.

"Am I grateful that the Athens doctors saved my life? No, I am not.

"If I had my time again, and knew then what I know now, I would not have called the ambulance but let nature take its course.

"I was given no choice as to whether or not I wanted to be saved.

"However, I do concede that it was a fair assumption given that I had asked for the ambulance and associated medical staff.

"What I object to is having my right to choose taken away from me after I had been saved.

"It seems to me that if my right to choose life or death at the time of initial crisis is reasonably taken away it is only fair to have the right to choose back when one gets over the initial crisis and have time to reflect.

"I'm not depressed so do not need counselling. I have had over six years to think about my future and it does not look good.

"I have locked-in syndrome and I can expect no cure or improvement in my condition as my muscles and joints seize up through lack of use.

"Indeed, I can expect to dribble my way into old age. If I am lucky I will acquire a life-threatening illness such as cancer so that I can refuse treatment and say no to those who would keep me alive against my will.

"By all means protect the vulnerable. By vulnerable I mean those who cannot make decisions for themselves - just don't include me.

"I am not vulnerable. I don't need help or protection from death or those who would help me.

"If the legal consequences were not so huge, ie life imprisonment, perhaps I could get someone to help me. As things stand, I can't get help.

"I am asking for my right to choose when and how to die to be respected.

"I know that many people feel that they would have failed if someone like me takes his own life and that life is sacred at all costs.

"I do not agree with that view. Surely the right and decent thing to do would be to empower people so that they can make the choice for themselves.

"Also, why should I be denied a right, the right to die of my own choosing when able bodied people have that right and only my disability prevents me from exercising that right?"