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The Burton Mail
Published: 29/01/2011 08:00
by ADRIAN JENKINS
A FORMER engineer killed himself after telling his wife she ‘would be better off without him’, an inquest has heard.
Robert Robinson hanged himself from the loft of his house in Winchcombe Drive, Stapenhill, on June 23 last year, South Staffordshire Coroner’s Court was told.
The 55-year-old’s body was found by his wife when she returned home from work after becoming concerned about her failure to contact him by telephone.
Mr Robinson had been dead for about an hour, said PC Lindsey McConchie, referring to an assessment given by a paramedic at the scene.
Inquiries by the police later ruled out foul play, the officer explained, but they had discovered books about suicide in a bedroom, she added.
The proceedings, held at Burton Town Hall, were told by the coroner’s officer, Simon Bullen, that a post-mortem examination, conducted by independent consultant pathologist Dr Peter Acland, found Mr Robinson died of a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by hanging.
Toxicology tests at the City Hospital, Birmingham, found no trace of drugs or alcohol, although checks by coroner Andrew Haigh revealed the victim was known to the primary care trust’s (PCT) mental health service.
Although not considered to need a referral to the mental health crisis team, Mr Robinson had been referred to secondary psychiatric services and at the time of his death had been awaiting an appointment. The inquest heard he was referred to the PCT’s mental health service by his GP, Dr A Wong, of Bridge Surgery, in St Peter’s Street, after suffering stress, depression and anxiety following the loss of his job in 2009.
Mr Robinson was prescribed antidepressants and made ‘some progress’ but later revealed for the first time that he had taken an overdose of 20 painkillers in February last year.
However, he judged himself to be at ‘zero’ risk of suicide and cited his family as the main ‘protective’ factor in his life.
Mr Robinson continued to be treated by the PCT.
He failed to improve and had ‘fixed ideas about the future’ and was worried about the threat of bankruptcy and losing his home despite having more than £50,000 in savings and his house being secure.
The inquest heard that Mr Robinson had told his wife she ‘would be better off without him’ and was so mentally distressed that he was paranoid and lost weight.
Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Haigh said: “He killed himself while suffering anxiety and depression.
“Clearly there were concerns, but I don’t think anybody expected him to do this precisely when he did.”