Flashbacks and work probe behind suicide — (The Cornishman)

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First posted on Antidepaware

The Cornishman

West Briton

Thursday, December 05, 2013

By Jason Lock

A POPULAR paramedic under investigation by the ambulance service took his own life after spiralling into depression, an inquest heard.Derek Wilton, known as ‘Del’, 46, disappeared on August 15. After a huge search his body was found at the bottom of cliffs at Hell’s Mouth on September 1.

 An inquest in Truro into his death  heard Mr Wilton left behind two suicide notes for his widow, Noelle, and his doctor.A small excerpt was read by investigating officer Detective Constable Joanne Sodergren at the inquest, which outlined his “embarrassment” at being under investigation by the South West Ambulance Trust (SWAT) and said  he felt like a “failure”.Cornwall Coroner Emma Carlyon heard Mr Wilton had also been suffering from depression after attending a fatal motorcycle accident. A report from his GP, Matthew Whiteley, of Homecroft Surgery, Illogan, said the paramedic suffered flashbacks from the accident and was prescribed anti-depressants.The coroner said these issues might have contributed to Mr Wilton’s depression and led him to take his life.

After the hearing, Mrs Wilton said more should be done for paramedics facing tough emotional circumstances.


She said: “There has been so much support from Del’s friends. He was a remarkable, kind and generous man, who raised a lot of money for charity.

“But more needs to be done for paramedics so they know where to go for help and do not bottle it all up.”

Her statement said he had withdrawn cash from his bank account and left it on a mantlepiece.

Dr Carlyon ruled his death was a deliberate act to take his own life.

His funeral was attended by more than 500 mourners. His wife said he had been a paramedic for 13 years and recently qualified to be part of the “blood bikes” team.

While search efforts were continuing a candlelit vigil was held on Portreath beach.

Mrs Wilton praised the efforts of the coastguards, friends and colleagues who helped look for him.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “SWAT was deeply saddened by the death of Derek Wilton.

“Del was a well-respected paramedic who served the people of Cornwall for many years.

“He will be sadly missed and we wish to extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

“The trust can confirm that Del was offered and provided with a range of support and advice by the ambulance service, and this has been extended to his family during this difficult time.

“The trust is carrying out an internal investigation in order to review the processes in place to support its staff.”