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Bramhope man felt he had ‘not got to where he wanted in life’
1:04pm Saturday 21st August 2010
A “very clever” and sport-loving young graduate who was found dead in woods at Bramhope was being treated for severe depression, an inquest heard yesterday.
The body of James Christopher Helks, 24, was discovered hanging from a tree off Hall Drive by a man who was out walking his dog on the afternoon of Saturday, April 24.
Leeds Coroner’s Court heard in a statement submitted by James’s father, Christopher, that James – who lived with his parents in Parklands – had gone missing after saying he was going out for a walk at lunchtime the day before.
The family had reported him missing when he had still not returned by 10pm on Friday, April 23, and started searching for him, helped by many friends, the next morning.
They were visited by police officers at 6pm who told them a man had been found in the woods whose description matched James’s, and his father identified the body. A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death to be hanging.
Mr Helks said his son, who was a strong runner and had studied at Prince Henry’s Grammar School right through to sixth form, had suffered from bad acne in his later teens which, although it had been treated, had made him self-conscious.
He had graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2007 but was unsure about his career path. Eventually he chose logistics and worked as an air freight clerk but “found social situations difficult”, and finished that job in February, 2009.
Mr Helks said James had not worked since then and had become less interested in going out and in seeing friends. Then in August last year he attempted suicide, which led to a stay in hospital where he was diagnosed as suffering from severe depression and received psychiatric help.
He had returned home but continued to receive regular visits from a psychiatrist and was on anti-depressant medication.
Mr Helks said: “The attempted suicide left us very worried about James and we knew he was very unhappy. He had mentioned that he’d not got to where he wanted in life.”
Offering his sympathies to the family, Coroner David Hinchliff said: “It is my belief that he was suffering from a form of depression and that particular day must have been a bad day for him, and as a consequence he has sought the solitude of that place and taken the action that he has.
“I must record a verdict that he has taken his own life whilst he was in a depressive episode.”