Tragedy of ‘sensitive’ Harpenden man whose life was blighted by depression

Hatfield Coroner's Court

Hatfield Coroner's Court - Credit: Archant

A retired mechanic ended his own life after struggling to battle depression and anxiety for a number of years, a coroner has ruled.

Eddie Gregg, of Marquis Lane, Harpenden, was found hanged in his garage by a neighbour on November 12 last year.

An inquest heard he turned to drink to overcome his mental health problems and had tried to kill himself once before.

Giving evidence to Herts coroner Edward Thomas, Dr Michael Walker described Eddie as a sensitive man who took things to heart and said he “always kept a fairly close eye on him”.

He said that the 76-year-old could not live with his severe depressive anxiety disorder and he wanted to teach him to live with it and maintain it.


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But he said: “He didn’t want to hear that message, he found anxiety very hard to tolerate. If he didn’t have that we wouldn’t be here and if he had been able to come to terms with the various problems we wouldn’t be here.”

He used to collect rare car parts and during the time Dr Walker knew him, sold a complete and rare Aston Martin for a large sum of money.

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But despite that he apparently did not take any enjoyment from the sale, which his doctor said was a clinical sign of depression.

Eddie had reportedly kept his illness under control for many years and had a long period of stability in the 1980s.

But he had a failed suicide attempt in 2008 which is when he first met Dr Walker. He was then transferred to Lambourne Grove, a hospital for the elderly and those showing signs of dementia.

Psychiatric assessment officer, Mrs Rumjon, who helped Eddie, said he was a gentleman and that he had once told her he would never try to take his own life again.

She added: “He would say I won’t do it. I will never ever go through that again what I did at Lambourne Grove. It was a very bad experience I will never put myself through it again, or do it again.”

Summarising, Herts coroner Mr Thomas said: “I have no doubt that his severe depressive anxiety disorder caused his death. Without that we would not be here.”

Eddie’s wife Mavis said he was a kind and caring person who would help anyone if he could. He had a great love for animals and rescued many over the years.

She added: “When he became unwell he found it so difficult to cope and it’s so sad his depressive illness took his life.”

She stressed that mental illness was a hidden illness and more funding was needed for research to help people like Eddie.

If you or a friend need help or advice with mental illness visit MIND at http://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/

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