Depression led man to play park suicide tragedy

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A UNIVERSITY drop-out who had been suffering from depression hanged himself in a children’s play area after writing “please don’t resuscitate me” in ink on his arm.

The body of Christopher Thomson, 21, was found hanged by a dressing gown cord in Graves Park, Sheffield, and an inquest heard he had been viewing suicide websites.

Mr Thomson had sent a text message to his close friend Jennifer Kirkham just a few hours before he died, saying: “It’s the only way out I can think of.”

The Sheffield hearing was told he had lost contact with his family for a spell and was penniless and homeless, sleeping at the city’s Salvation Army hostel.

Just a week before his death he had been referred for psychiatric help after being sent to hospital by a walk-in centre doctor when he talked of killing himself.

Mental health nurse Victoria Spencer said: “He had a chronic low mood and had been looking at methods of suicide on the internet over the previous months.”

But despite his suicidal thoughts she believed he was not planning to kill himself. He was found a place at the hostel and was seen by Jean Murphy of the city’s mental health team.

She interviewed him and thought he had no intention of harming himself and he talked about his depression which he had suffered for a long time but was not taking any medication.

She told the inquest: “There was nothing to indicate he was at immediate risk although he had been having suicidal thoughts.”

Ms Murphy asked him to sign on with a GP who could get him treatment and give him anti-depressants.

But just a few days later, after leaving Miss Kirkham and some friends who went on to a nightclub, former Sheffield University student Mr Thomson was found dead at the park.

Miss Kirkham said she got home in the early hours of July 20 last year to find Christopher’s diary shoved through her door and a piece of paper reading “I’m sorry.”

She had known him for three months and become a close friend. He had told her he once tried to kill himself when he was 15 and suffered from bi-polar disorder which led him to hear voices.

Miss Kirkham said the battery on her mobile had gone flat but when she recharged it, she found a series of texts from him on her phone.

One said: “I wanted to talk to you before the end” and another read: “Please don’t feel responsible, it’s my own fault.”

Other texts revealed where he was and she took a taxi to the park only to find his body, before calling the emergency services.

Assistant deputy coroner Louise Slater recorded a verdict of suicide. She told Christopher’s father Peter and his partner: “I am sorry for the loss of someone so young.”