Double life of the man who decided to hang himself — (Manchester Evening News)

SSRI Ed note: Pillar of community depressed since 1992, takes antidepressants, starts an affair shortly after. 13 years later, in 2006, he drinks heavily, dies by suicide.

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Manchester Evening News

Published: 10th January 2007

TRAGIC – Sean Smith

A YOUTH volunteer who hanged himself had a secret mistress who he had hidden from his wife for 13 years.

Sean Smith, an assistant general manager at Harveys in Oldham, was described as a “pillar of the community” and was well known as the manager of a local junior football team in Mossley.

But he was cheating on his wife Caroline with work colleague Elizabeth Wiliamson, snatching illicit nights with her when he got the chance, an inquest heard.

The two women came face to face at the inquiry, but both remained dignified and calm throughout proceedings.

Mr Smith was also the chairman of the local sports forum and a member of the Territorial Army.

The 44-year-old fought long and hard to persuade councillors to build a £60,000 skatepark for local kids in Mossley and watched poignantly as it was unveiled days before he died on July 30 last year.

The night before he died he told Caroline he was spending a night away with the TA and would return in the morning.

Instead he made his way to Miss Williamson’s home in Beal Lane, Shaw, and together they went to a neighbour’s barbecue, the court was told.

He downed two bottles of red wine before the couple made their way home. Once there, an argument ensued and a fight broke out between them.

Mrs Williamson said: “It was the first time any violence had ever been used. He grabbed his car keys and said he was driving home. But he’d drunk a considerable amount so I snatched them off him.

“He calmed down and was mortified by what had happened, apologised and said he would sleep downstairs.”

She went to bed and awoke at 6.45am to find Mr Smith hanging from the bannister by a dog lead.

Paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Smith, a dad-of-four, of Manchester Road, Mossley, was on anti-depressants at the time and off work with stress and anxiety. He had a history of depression stretching back to 1992.

Coroner Simon Nelson said: “His personal life was complex, but he was a gentleman who had given himself up for the community for many years. His irrational and uncharacteristic behaviour was complicated by the domestic circumstances of his life.

“I feel he took his own life while the balance of his mind was altered.”

His widow Caroline said: “I was completely shocked by the affair, I had no idea. But I still hope he’ll be remembered fondly by the people of Mossley.”

Adam Derbyshire


First published by the Oldham Advertiser