Family’s ‘reach out’ plea after shock death of ‘wonderful’ Roy

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The hearing was held at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court at the town hall

A FAMILY has urged people not to suffer in silence after an inquest heard how a father who thought he was seriously ill took his own life fearing he would not be able to get medical help during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Roy Brandreth (63), from Christchurch, had suffered a sore throat for about two months, had a telephone consultation with his doctor and rang an NHS helpline shortly before he died.

In a statement to Bournemouth Coroner’s Court, his daughter Olivia told how her father had refused to talk to anyone about his throat in the weeks leading up to his death on 12th May.

It was only after he died that they realised from a suicide note how much it had played on his mind, and that he did not think he could get access to medical help amid the impact of Covid-19.

On the day he died his wife of nearly 40 years, Alex, had managed to persuade him to visit hospital with her to see about his throat.

He had agreed to go after she went for her usual morning walk. He dropped her off at Barton as he was due to complete some gardening jobs he had been doing for people.

In a statement, Mrs Brandreth said: “He told me, ‘Have a nice walk, Alex’ and that was the last time I saw him.”

She said she had later tried ringing him but he did not answer. When she returned to their home in Larkspur Close she saw his car on the drive and found a handwritten note in the kitchen. He was found dead in his garage.

Mrs Brandreth said his death had been a “complete shock”, adding that he had never disclosed his concerns and anxieties to anyone in the family.

Daughter Olivia said in her statement that her father was a keen member of local cycling and bowls clubs but had been unable to take part in any hobbies during lockdown.

She said none of his family had been aware he was suffering any mental health issues, adding: “We will never, and could never, fully understand why he has done what he did. He never gave us the chance to help him.”

A post-mortem examination did not uncover any serious medical issues. Assistant coroner Brendan Allen reached a conclusion of suicide.

His family said in a statement later: “Roy was a caring, funny and kind man who loved his family, hobbies and Aston Villa.

“He was a wonderful husband and father with many friends who will all miss him dearly. We have so many loving memories that will keep him in our thoughts and hearts forever.

“For anyone reading this who is suffering with mental health issues, please make sure you reach out and ask for help.”

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