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Telegraph & Argus
Saturday 17th August 2013
By Rhys Thomas, T&A Reporter
A grieving widower killed himself by throwing himself off the Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor, an inquest heard.
Keen walker Geoffrey Godrich had been depressed at his wife’s death and his failing physical health, Bradford Coroner’s Court was told yesterday.
The 82-year-old pushed himself off a 12-metre high ledge at the old quarry beauty spot at about 10.25am on August 15 last year.
The court heard how Mr Godrich hit his head on rocks halfway down before landing on his back on the ground.
He was certified dead at 10.51am, said Assistant Deputy Coroner Caroline Sumeray. He had written a suicide note for his family.
Recording a verdict of suicide, and addressing Mr Godrich’s daughter and son-in-law in court, Miss Sumeray said: “I hope he is at peace now. He is with your mum now. It is where he wanted to be. He did not want to continue living without her.”
She added: “If someone is that determined to kill themselves, they will succeed.”
The inquest heard that a group of children, aged between eight and 16 years, were gathered at the bottom of the cliff as part of a climbing trip at the time of Mr Godrich’s fall.
Evidence from climbing instructor Daryl Cavanagh was read out in court. He said a 16-year-old girl in his party had spotted a man on the edge of the rocks moments before he fell.
The court also heard a written statement from Andrew Morley, a paramedic who was also part of the climbing group.
Mr Morley rushed to Mr Godrich’s aid and said his breathing was at nine breaths per minute. The normal level is 16.
He carried out CPR for at least ten minutes before conceding that his injuries were too severe for him to survive.
The inquest had heard how Mr Godrich, of Hawkswick, Skipton, had no history of psychiatric problems, but he had tried to cut his wrists on July 31 last year and was admitted to a mental health unit at Airedale hospital before being discharged to Craven Nursing Home on August 14, where he was considered at “low risk of suicide”.
A statement from Felicity Coleman, manager of the nursing home, said that the next day, Mr Godrich had set off for “urgent business” in Ilkley at about 10am. He had his car on site and was allowed to come and go.
Dr David Gouldesbrough told the inquest the cause of death was multiple injuries to Mr Godrich’s head, spine and chest.
He said there was no alcohol in his body and only a therapeutic level of paracetamol and anti-depressants.