St Albans man’s death linked to depressive illness

PUBLISHED: 18:26 20 May 2012

Coroner's Court.

Coroner's Court.


A “likeable and articulate” St Albans man took his own life “while suffering from a depressive illness”, an inquest has ruled.

Asset Patel, 50, was found dead at his home in Gurney Court Road on January 31 this year.

The inquest at Hatfield on Tuesday heard how Mr Patel, who was born in Kenya, was found suspended from the open loft hatch.

Mr Patel worked as an IT sales director and had had some difficulties adjusting to his new role after being promoted, the court heard.

He had become very anxious about his work and was also suffering from depression.

Psychiatrist Dr Gerber was the last professional to see Mr Patel before he died.

He described him as “a very likeable man, very articulate and easy to get along with,” before telling the court how Mr Patel was very anxious about his work and had lost a lot of confidence in the run up to his death.

He explained how Mr Patel had been on three types of medication to control the illness and that he had introduced a very small amount of Trazodone at the appointment on January 23 to help him sleep better.

Dr Gerber also talked about how there were plans to look into his medication at some point as Mr Patel still seemed to be anxious.

He said: “I feel the depression had improved but that the anxiety was preventing him from making a full recovery.”

On the morning of his death, Mr Patel, who worked from home, had told his wife he was fine and she then went off to work. She returned later that afternoon to find him. An ambulance was then called and the police arrived a short while later.

Pc Dean Mason from Herts Police was one of the first officers on the scene. Giving evidence on Tuesday, Pc Mason confirmed that there was no sign of disturbance or forced entry at Mr Patel’s home and that therefore no third party was involved.

A post mortem examination later showed that there was no sign of natural disease or anything else which could have contributed to Mr Patel’s death. The level of medication in his system was therapeutic.

The cause of death was listed as cardio respiratory failure, caused by suspension.

Addressing the family, who had been described in court as “loving and supportive”, Coroner Edward Thomas said of Mr Patel: “He was talented, supportive and a good chap. It was so sad that he died in these circumstances. His illness took control and took his life.”

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