Depressed father who hanged himself suffered from ‘survivor’s guilt’, inquest told

1:52pm Monday 6th April 2009

By Andy Woolfoot

A COTSWOLD family man who hanged himself was fearful of losing his job and suffering from ‘survivor’s guilt’ after he was involved in the death of a South African woman in a car crash, an inquest heard.

James Clark was convinced he would lose his marketing chief position at computer company Comstor in Cirencester and hung himself in the garage of his Aldsworth home with his belt on October 27, 2007.

His inquest heard this week that he was not to blame for the incident in South Africa but the ‘survivor’s guilt’ played on his mind and he killed himself impulsively while suffering 'a period of diagnosed depression.

On Oct 16 Mr Clark went to his doctor with an ear infection and was given a sick note. A week later he saw his GP again and told her he hated his job but he feared he would be dismissed if he took any time off ill.

The doctor diagnosed moderate depression and started him on fluoxetine. He continued working and at a marketing strategy meeting that week his ideas were not taken up.

"I believe Mr Clarke perceived this as a sign that he was about to lose his marketing budget and therefore his job," Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore said.

Recording a narrative verdict, he added he was satisfied Mr Clark died at his own hands but it was an impulsive action and he could not be sure it was suicide. Neither would it be appropriate in the circumstances to record an open verdict.

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