Turmoil of Sidmouth suicide victim

PUBLISHED: 10:01 21 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:33 18 June 2010

A SIDMOUTH man, who suffered from schizophrenia and chronic depression, committed suicide just before he was to be admitted into a care home, an inquest heard. Brian Duncan Edwards, 49, was found dead in his Arcot Park home on November 7, 2006. Staff at t

A SIDMOUTH man, who suffered from schizophrenia and chronic depression, committed suicide just before he was to be admitted into a care home, an inquest heard.

Brian Duncan Edwards, 49, was found dead in his Arcot Park home on November 7, 2006.

Staff at the care home tried to ring him the day before to make arrangements to admit him for psychiatric treatment but they received no answer.

Mr Edwards wrote a suicide note and ingested a lethal amount of the drug dothiepin, the hearing at Honiton Magistrates Court on Tuesday was told.

Evidence was given by Sarah Challis, community psychiatric nurse to Mr Edwards.

She told the coroner that unemployed Mr Edwards had been given a number of drugs over the years to help with his psychiatric health but most of them had been ineffective.

She said that Mr Edwards, who also suffered from severe migraines, had suicidal tendencies but at the time of his death she thought he was at a lower risk because he was looking forward to being admitted to the care home.

"The idea of changing medication for Brian was for a while until it didn't work... gave him hope," she said.

Mr Edwards sister, Christine Connett, asked why the care home staff did not check on him after they did not receive an answer when they called him.

But the inquest heard Mrs Challis did not request the staff to make a house visit.

Evidence was also given by Peter Lindup, a close friend of Mr Edwards, who said he had spoken to him a few days before his death.

"I did find him depressed and disturbed but I didn't find him suicidal," he said.

The coroner heard that Mr Edwards had expressed his dissatisfaction with the 24 hour crisis team which supports and monitors the mental state of people with psychiatric problems.

After one incident, which occurred weeks before his death, Mr Edwards decided not to have any contact with the crisis service.

Mr Lindup explained that Mr Edwards had been expecting a member of the crisis team to visit him but instead they rang him on a mobile phone to check how he was.

Mr Lindup said: "He was in such a turmoil he perceived it as unreliable."

Dr Elizabeth Earland, Exeter and Great Devon Coroner, recorded a verdict that Mr Edwards took his own life.

She said: "There was a process in place albeit didn't prevent the tragedy that has occurred.

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