Mum'sheartbreak at sons' suicides
By marc rath
A MOTHER told an inquest of her heartbreak at losing two sons to suicide in the space of a year.
Muriel Payne was devastated when her son David, 38, took a fatal overdose of anti-depressant medication on April 9, 2009.
She was then left inconsolable when his elder brother Nicholas, 41, killed himself by jumping from a quarry edge in Weston-super-Mare on April 2 last year.
At an inquest into the death of Nicholas at Flax Bourton Coroner's Court, Ms Payne criticised mental health services for the way her son's care was managed.
She said: "When I die, I won't have five sons to carry me out – I've only got three now.
"Not only was he not offered psychiatric help earlier, he was taking tablets and a lot of the time it wasn't doing any good. He was one of these people who don't make a fuss and that was probably his downfall."
Yesterday's inquest heard Mr Payne was found badly injured at the bottom of a quarry in Weston Woods, near his home, at just after 10am by his brother Vince, just hours after threatening to jump into the quarry or off Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Pathologist Dr Russell Delaney said Mr Payne died shortly after at 11.55am at Weston General Hospital as a result of "non-survivable" multiple injuries consistent with a fall from height. He had a suicide note in a pocket, the inquest heard.
Mr Payne had been struggling to come to terms with his brother's suicide and his mother being diagnosed with cancer. The inquest was told he made an attempt at killing himself a month before his death by cutting his arms with a bread knife in the bathroom of his home.
Mrs Payne told the inquest her son found life unbearable and had trouble sleeping.
She said: "It breaks my heart to say it but Nicholas told me that he wished he could be as brave as David. I explained that David had problems but it did no good and wouldn't placate him."
The inquest heard Mr Payne also had worries about being unemployed and had difficulties claiming benefits after losing his job at Domino's Pizza.
Mental health specialist Robin Woodburn, a community psychiatric nurse who manages a team which reviews patients' cases, said Mr Payne was offered help from mental health workers.
He said: "In hindsight, lessons could have been learned. We very much made a point (to Mr Payne) that you need to contact us if you feel the same (depressed) but perhaps we should have had the conversations with his mother and brother present."
Most people thinking of taking their own life have given warning signs beforehand. These can include becoming depressed and feelings of hopelessness.
These feelings do improve and can be treated. If you need help or are concerned about someone, please contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, day or night.