Professor Hawking Denies Abuse Claims
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 26, 2004
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND--Cambridgeshire Police have confirmed that they are investigating reports that famed scientist Stephen Hawking has been repeatedly assaulted.
Professor Hawking, however, denies that he is an abuse victim.
"There is absolutely no substance to the reports," Hawking said last week through his computerized voice synthesizer. He is currently being treated for an unrelated bout with pneumonia at Addenbrooke's Hospital.
The tabloid Daily Mirror wrote earlier in the week that Hawking's adult children, his ex-wife, and a former nurse were concerned because the 62-year-old academic has experienced a number of unexplained injuries, including a fractured femur, a cut lip, and gashes to his face. A nursing staff also reported to police that Hawking experienced a severe heat stroke and sunburn this past summer after being left alone in his garden on the hottest day of the year.
In spite of Hawking's denials, suspicion is falling on his current wife, Elaine. In the past, she and Hawking have claimed that his injuries were the results of his fast-paced lifestyle.
The Independent noted that Hawking, who uses a motorized wheelchair, has a reputation as an erratic driver and often travels "at breakneck speed, expecting other people and vehicles to get out of the way." In January 2002, Hawking broke his hip when he accidentally ran his electric wheelchair into a wall.
Hawking has had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a form of motor neuron disease also known as 'Lou Gehrig's Disease", for more than 40 years -- longer than anyone else in Britain. When he was first diagnosed, doctors expected him to live just two years.
The Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, considered by many to be the greatest scientist of his time, is paralyzed except for the use of some fingers.
"He is a proud and stubborn man," a close friend told The Independent. "It is the same obstinacy that has kept him alive."
"But on these injuries, he has steadfastly refused to do anything about it and we just don't dare think about what could come next. When you visit him in hospital he just types out on his screen that it isn't a good time to talk about it."
Three years ago, Hawking's visit to India prompted changes in how many in the country viewed wheelchair accessibility. Officials that had invited the esteemed scientist to speak at several Indian universities were highly embarrassed when their guest had to be carried from place to place because of a lack of wheelchair ramps.
"Is the world's most famous scientist victim of assaults?" (The Independent)
"What I saw in the Hawking home" (The Daily Mirror)