Worker spoke of suicide plans weeks before jumping to his death — (Grimsby Telegraph)

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Grimsby Telegraph

Posted: August 22, 2013

FORMER council worker told medics he was planning to jump from the fifth floor of a Grimsby office block just weeks before plunging to his death.

Steven Holgeth, 32, of Meadow Croft Crescent, Waltham, had been dismissed from his job at North East Lincolnshire Council but returned to his former offices, at Freeman House, in Freeman Street, to end his life.

An inquest at Cleethorpes Town Hall yesterday heard how former colleagues buzzed Mr Holgeth into the building, believing he had come back to visit them.

Instead, he took the lift to the fifth floor of the building and climbed on a sink in the men’s toilet to open a window and then threw himself out, on July 10 last year.

Attempts were made to resuscitate him but he was declared dead at Grimsby’s Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital shortly afterwards.

A post mortem examination revealed Mr Holgeth had a large wound to his head and had broken his arms, legs, pelvis, sternum and ribs, leading to a verdict of death by multiple injuries.

Mr Holgeth’s father, Andrew, of Waltham, described how his son had first sought counselling after dropping out of a computer course at Staffordshire University and having trouble coming to terms with his sexuality.

He joined North East Lincolnshire Council as a systems support worker in 2009 but began to struggle to stay motivated.

Mr Holgeth added: “He was intelligent and had a number of jobs over the years but he got bored easily and liked to move every six months or so, which is why agency work suited him.

“He didn’t actively pursue the job at the council but it came up and he went for it. His mum and I encouraged him to stay there because it was a good job.”

Mr Holgeth’s mood declined further when he was forced to undertake a redundancy process at work at the start of last year but he was successful in securing a better-paid position. He left the family home and moved to live on his own shortly afterwards.

Dr Paul Amith, from Scartho Medical Centre, said Mr Holgeth first sought help in June 2003 when he reported having suicidal thoughts, but said he would not act on them because he “did not want to upset his family, particularly his grandmother”.

The inquest heard that Mr Holgeth was seen by the crisis team at various times over the years, and also took courses of antidepressants and saw consultant psychiatrists and mental health workers. He spoke often to medics, and to his boss, of his plans to end his life.

Speaking about the last time he saw Mr Holgeth, the evening before his death, Dr Amith said: “He told me that he had been dismissed from his job and planned to apply for benefits the next day.

“He said he would not end his life as long as he could support himself financially.”

Former colleague Joanne Stembridge, a statementing officer at the council, described Mr Holgeth as “polite, quiet, friendly and very good at what he did”.

She told the inquest how she buzzed him into the building because he had promised to come back and see colleagues.

“When I got to the foyer, he wasn’t there, so I assumed he’d gone upstairs,” she said.

“I heard the bang and somebody was shouting that somebody had collapsed, so I called 999. I was on the phone when they said it was Steven.”

North East Lincolnshire Coroner Paul Kelly recorded a verdict of death by suicide.

He said: “Mr Holgeth was able and wholly capable of suppressing his true feelings and intentions. He had a lengthy history of low mood, although there was no clinical diagnosis of depression.

“From time to time in the months and years leading up to his death he expressed the intention to take his life, even stating on one occasion that he would go to a five-storey building and jump from it.

“I am satisfied that his intention was to take his life.”

The inquest heard that chains have now been fitted to the windows at Freeman House to stop a similar incident occurring in the future.

Tony Hunter, chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “The council undertook a full investigation immediately following this incident and have fully supported the coroner’s and the police inquiries into this tragic death of a former employee of the authority.”