Man’s death was totally out of character — (The St. Albans & Harpenden Review)

SSRI Ed note: Man prescribed antidepressants by GP for work stress, not depressed, unexpectedly hangs himself with no warning.

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The St. Albans & Harpenden Review

3:17pm Thursday 4th December 2008

By Alexandra Barham 

A MAN found hanging in his garage shortly after returning from holiday showed no signs of wanting to take his own life, an inquest heard today.

Andrew Rowe was discovered by his family at his home in Beauchamps, Welwyn Garden City on July 31, this year.

The 43-year-old had a history of depression due to the stress of work and was taking anti-depressants, but an inquest into his death revealed he had displayed no signs of suicidal intentions.

Mr Rowe’s GP, Dr Creek, said in a statement read out to today’s hearing that his patient had not appeared ‘unduly depressed’ on his last visit to the surgery, adding that he was shocked to learn of the tragedy.

He described Mr Rowe as a man who could articulate his feelings and discuss them openly, adding that he was proactive in seeking assistance to help him with his difficulties.

The inquest heard how Mr Rowe had just returned from holiday, and seemed happy in recalling some of the funny moments from his time away.

During the day leading up to his death, Mr Rowe had been shopping with his wife, cooked dinner, but claimed he didn’t feel hungry and had slipped away to the garage.

Coroner Edward Thomas explained how the garage stored his beloved Spitfire car and motorbike. He explained it was nothing out of the ordinary for Mr Rowe to escape to the garage – it was his getaway.

Mr Thomas told the hearing: “After dinner the family went to find him. The garage door was locked, they looked through and realised something was wrong. They saw him and cut him down with a rope around his neck.”

The coroner added that his actions were ‘totally out of the ordinary’. He pointed out that Mr Rowe had been ordering items off the internet just hours before his body was discovered, indicating he had been looking towards the future.

Paramedics were called to the house and attempted to resuscitate Mr Rowe. CPR continued at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, but medical staff were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile police conducted an examination of the property, which revealed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. No notes were uncovered either.

Recording a verdict of death by self harm, Mr Thomas said: “I’m satisfied that he did the act that caused his death.

“I feel if he really wanted to die he was a man that might have said why.” The coroner felt the loose knot wrapped around his neck also indicated that Mr Rowe may not have wanted the attempt to be successful.

“I’m not convinced that he definitely intended to take his own life, but I am convinced that nobody else was involved.”