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Inquest into Portslade GP’s death
Friday 11th November 2011
A family doctor posted a suicide note through his neighbour’s door before going home and killing himself.
Popular GP Simon Harris was found hanging in the attic of his home in Hove after the neighbour raised the alarm.
An inquest in Brighton yesterday (November 10) was told Dr Harris had been suffering from personal problems in the weeks leading up to his death on August 31.
He had been prescribed antidepressants and had made an appointment to see his GP on the day he died.
Friend and neighbour Tracy Tarrant told the inquest she had known Dr Harris for 11 years.
The night before he died, Dr Harris had a meal and watched a DVD with Mrs Tarrant at her home.
She said although she was aware of the problems he had been having, on that night he had seemed calm and chatty.
She said: “He had a nice conversation with his son on the phone during the evening and when he got up to leave he assured me he was absolutely fine.”
At around 9.30am the next day Mrs Tarrant was sitting at her desk when she heard the sound of something being put through her letterbox.
She thought it was the post being delivered early and stayed at her desk for another 20 minutes until she heard a ringing sound.
Mrs Tarrant traced the sound to a mobile phone that had been posted with the letter.
When she read the note she called 999 and police and ambulance crews were sent to Dr Harris’s house in Pembroke Crescent.
The doctor was declared dead at the scene.
A post mortem examination revealed he had died from hanging and although he had painkillers and antidepressants in his blood, they were not enough to have contributed towards his death.
Deputy Brighton and Hove Coroner Catherine Palmer recorded a verdict of suicide.
Dr Harris had worked at Mile Oak Medical Centre in Portslade for 21 years and was a well-loved and respected GP.
He had previously worked as a force medical officer for Sussex Police.
He leaves a wife and two adult children.