Suicide verdict on father wracked with guilt

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A married factory manager was so wracked with guilt after sexual frolics with two women at his works’ Christmas party he killed himself 12 days later, an inquest heard.

Father-of-two Nigel Ball was so worried he might have contracted a sexually transmitted disease he toured doctors’ surgeries and hospitals to seek reassurance.

Despite telling his wife Marie, the 45-year-old production manager worked himself up into a panic and feared for his marriage, his children and his job.

On January 3 this year, he had a row with his wife and stormed out, saying: “I’m not coming back.”

His body was found decapitated later that afternoon in some local woods after he had climbed 20 feet up a tree to hang himself.

The Rotherham hearing was told Mr Ball, who worked his way up from the shopfloor over 24 years to become production manager at Doncaster-based Polypipe, had “copious” amounts to drink at his works party on December 22 last year.

In a statement his brother Wayne, global operations director, said staff visited a number of pubs and Nigel had sexual encounters with two different women in an alleyway and in a bar.

He later believed he might have contracted a sexually transmitted disease and sought medical advice on Boxing Day.

Mr Ball had admitted to his wife he had been unfaithful after the “do” and he was having flashbacks about it. On Friday January 3, after driving his son Thomas to work at Polypipe, Mr Ball returned home and at lunchtime argued with his wife.

The inquest heard he walked out, collecting a white carrier bag from the garage as he left. In a statement, Mrs Ball, a room attendant who was married to her husband for 16 years, said they “had words” about the party.

GP Alexandra Hall, from the Dalton Health Centre at Rotherham, told the hearing Mr Ball consulted her on December 30. Mr Ball, of Swinton, near Rotherham said he had been to the genito-urinary department at the local hospital.

Rotherham coroner Nicola Mundy gave the cause of death as self-decapitation due to hanging involving a drop and recorded a verdict of suicide. She said he had drunk a “considerable amount” at the party which would have affected his judgement and lowered his inhibitions. His sexual encounters there “had a devastating effect on him.”

She added: “The effect was all the more profound because it was clearly out of character. He was struggling to cope with what happened.”

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