Inquest: Lord’s son’s death was suicide

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The Ipswich Star

01 July 2007

A SUFFOLK lord’s talented 21-year old son hanged himself on a tree in the family estate after a history of turbulent depression and suicidal thoughts, an inquest heard.

Frederick Henniker-Major, known as Freddy, was found dead in the woods of Thornham Park, near Eye, on the morning of February 7, 2005, by a jogger.

The son of Lord Henniker-Major, a lawyer, and Lesley Henniker-Major, Freddy was a gifted musician and actor, who lived with his mother at Thornham Hall.

Greater Suffolk Coroner Peter Dean yesterday recorded a verdict of suicide yesterday surrounding the “very sad circumstances” of Freddy’s death, two-and-a-half-years after his death.

He said: “He was a young man with abilities, especially acting, but we have also heard the really quite long history of personal difficulties Freddy had since the age of 13, troubles and problems that really progressed over the years.”

He added there were no suspicious circumstances and a range of factors contributed to Freddy taking his own life.

Freddy was a former Etonian who also attended Orwell Park School, near Ipswich, and Hartismere High School, near Eye. He spent a year at Leeds University in 2002, before deciding not to continue with the course.

The court heard how Freddy began seeing his GP, Dr Jonathan Herman, in January 2003, regarding feelings of a lack of motivation and by September was declaring suicidal thoughts. He was put on the anti-depressant Fluvoxamine between July and November 2003 and arranged counselling, but did not attend the six sessions.

Dr Andrew Herxheimer, an independent expert in clinical pharmacology, told the court a group of anti-depressants which includes Fluvoxamine could cause a paradoxical increase in suicidal behaviour, but no hard scientific research had been carried out to confirm the link.

The inquest heard how Freddy’s suicidal thoughts led him, by his own admission, to turn to alcohol binges to help him carry out his suicidal plans, but only acted in distracting him and leading him into aggressive behaviour.

He was referred to the St Clements Hospital in Ipswich, where he received individual psychotherapy, and sought help for his drinking at the NORCAS drug and alcohol help centre in Norwich.

Dr Herxheimer said the interaction between alcohol and the anti-depressants could have been responsible for the aggressive behaviour Freddy demonstrated, but there was not yet any scientific evidence.

A post-mortem held in Ipswich had confirmed no drugs or alcohol were found in Freddy’s body.