Suicide verdict on Garstang man's death

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A CHURCHTOWN man hanged himself from a tree in his back garden after pressures of work became too much for him, an inquest heard.

David McLeod, 56, died on February 7 when he committed suicide at his home on The Avenue, Churchtown.

Lancaster Coroners' Court heard that Mr McLeod had been suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts during the four months up to his death.

His wife, Margaret, said her husband had worked at British Telecom until 1993, when he became a HGV driver.

Mr McLeod worked for agencies until four or five years ago when he joined Roadferry. He soon found the amount of traffic on the roads was increasing and switched to night shifts.

Mrs McLeod said: "He was a very sociable man and I don't think we realised how much the lack of social contact was affecting him. I worked full time during the day so we were like passing ships."

Within the last year of his life, Mr McLeod was involved in an accident at the M6 junction south of Lancaster. As he turned on the roundabout, his unstable load shifted and the wagon tipped over.

"He was convinced he must have been driving too fast, but it wasn't his fault. Mentally it really shook him up," Mrs McLeod said.

Mr McLeod then received a speeding fine, which led him to worry about the security of his job.

In November, he threw himself into the docks at Heysham, but he climbed out when he thought an on-looker might jump in to save him.

This incident led to the couple seeking medical help, and Mr McLeod was signed off work and given anti-depressants.

Mrs McLeod described that her husband once left the house with a Stanley knife, and upon his return said to her, "It's much harder to kill yourself than you think."

He then voluntarily admitted himself to Parkwood Hospital, Blackpool, for five nights.

Although Mr McLeod's GP noted that throughout early January Mr McLeod's condition had improved, by February 6, the day before he died, his low mood had returned and he was again having thoughts of suicide.

On February 7, Mrs McLeod and her son, Robert, returned home to find Mr McLeod hanging in the back garden.

Deputy coroner Mr Derek Baker said: "This was a man who let pressures grow on him, and another man may have continued with his life without thought that these were significant problems. Mr McLeod allowed them to build up.

"I think he didn't want to be disturbed on February 7 and I accept that to a large extent his suicide was pre-planned. Sadly I do conclude that he wanted to take his own life on that day."