Depression was a 'dark shadow'By Becky Barnes
December 19, 2012
A tax officer described being ‘haunted’ by the ‘dark shadow’ of depression in a harrowing suicide note, an inquest heard.
Richard Attfield, 34, of Oakdale, Crown Wood, left the letter next to the bed where he died after taking a fatal overdose of veterinary drugs between June 30 and July 2 this year.
The inquest at Windsor Guildhall on Thursday, December 6, heard extracts from the letter to his family read by coroner Peter Bedford.
It said: “I feel justified in terminating my life.
“I have been suffering the dark shadow of mental illness and depression for eight years and I have been depressed to the point of suicide.
“I choose to end my life and to end the pain from haunting me for the rest of my life.”
The inquest heard Mr Attfield’s housemate Anthony Bassett, who he had lived with since January 2011, found his friend just after 6pm on Monday, July 2.
In a statement from Mr Bassett read by Mr Bedford he said his housemate ‘seemed withdrawn’ when he last saw him around 7pm on June 30 but he put if down to an ‘off day’.
He added he was ‘surprised’ not to see Mr Attfield again that evening and it was ‘unusual’ not to see him on Monday.
He texted his friend to check he was OK, but received no reply and noticed nothing had moved in the kitchen when he returned home from work at 6pm on July 2 so went to check on him and then called 999. Police and paramedics attended at 6.30pm and confirmed he was dead.
Mr Attfield’s mum Sheila said he was ‘smart and intelligent’ but had ‘low self-esteem and depression’ in a written statement read by Mr Bedford.
She added: “None of us knew how dark things had become.”
The family, including Mr Attfield’s sister Sarah, her husband Neil and friend Sharon, told Mr Bedford, they had no suspicions he would kill himself and knew nothing of his suicidal thoughts until they read the letter.
They knew he had received therapy and medication for depression and medical records showed bouts of anxiety and depression since 1998.
The results of a toxicology report showed a ‘modest’ level of alcohol, but veterinary drugs were more than five times the fatal limit.
Mr Bedford recorded a verdict of suicide and cause of death as drug overdose.