Man died after he fell from car park — (The Swindon Advertiser)

SSRI Ed note: Man on antidepressants, antipsychotics, does not improve, loses job, has meds changed, jumps from car park. Noone sees jump so Coroner records open verdict.

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The Swindon Advertiser

By Ben Perrin 

1:10pm Friday 12th December 2008  

A MAN died after falling from the top of a 50ft multi-storey car park in Swindon, an inquest heard.

Sadhu Chahal of Daniel Close, Okus, was suffering from depression and had become anxious in the lead-up to his death on May 29, 2007.

The father-of-two left his post as senior executive of a housing association in Bristol by mutual consent in December 2006, but was unable to get another job.

The 43-year-old was in regular contact with the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust after his job loss.

The inquest into his death heard that he made visits to consultant psychologist doctor Priya Sod in Swindon, but he didn’t express thoughts about self-harming.

He was prescribed sleeping pills for intermittent insomnia and then anti-depression pills, before it was later changed to different anti-depression and anti-psychotic medication on May 16 last year.

Mr Chahal also made phone calls to the mental health crisis team seeking advice about his state of mind as he thought the medication wasn’t working.

The court heard Mr Chahal had a history of depression and mental illness stretching back to 1983. He had seen a consultant psychologist, but since 1992 he had got his life back on track.

“He was a very private and proud person,” said his wife Lakhbir, who didn’t believe her husband wanted to kill himself.

“He felt low as he hadn’t found a job. He was the bread winner and he didn’t feel comfortable claiming state allowances.

“He started to become agitated, which was so out of character for him.”

Mrs Chahal even tried to bring an appointment forward with the consultant psychologist from May 30, as she was concerned her husband wasn’t getting better, but it couldn’t be arranged as Dr Sod was away from work that day.

Her husband then walked into town to pay bills and made his way to the multi-storey car park in College Street.

The inquest at Trowbridge Town Hall heard that CCTV captured Mr Chahal making his way to the top level at about 9.30am.

PC Dave Johnson of Swindon police was called to the scene and found Mr Chahal laying on his back at the bottom of the car park, still conscience and breathing.

He was taken by ambulance to the Great Western Hospital, where he died at 9pm.

A post mortem examination by Dr Miroslau Radojkovic showed Mr Chahal died of multiple injuries.

Wiltshire Coroner David Masters recorded a narrative verdict as there were no eye-witnesses to the fall.

He said: “There is not sufficient evidence that Mr Chahal committed suicide based on intention and the facts that happened. He had not said this to his family or to his mental health carers.”

A spokeswoman for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr Sadhu Chahal and we would like to offer our sincere condolences for their loss.

“We have co-operated fully with the coroner in this inquest to enable an accurate verdict to be reached.

“The coroner acknowledged that there had been frequent contact between Mr Chahal and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, including consultant psychiatrists and the crisis and home resolution team.

“The coroner also confirmed that Mr Chahal had given no indication of suicide to his wife or to mental health workers.

“We provide specialist mental health services that help many thousands of people each year and we always seek to learn from the outcomes of our work with our service users.

“We take all incidents extremely seriously and we are continually re-evaluating our policies and procedures to reduce risk and to improve treatment and care.”