Sun, 24 Apr 2016
A NEWBURY businessman took his own life after suffering from depression.
David Guest was found dead at his home in Lamtarra Way, Greenham in September last year.
The 40-year-old project manager for a financial services company was found by his partner with a knife in his chest.
An inquest, held in Reading on Wednesday, heard that Mr Guest was dropped from high- to low-risk of self-harming, within two days.
He became depressed after losing both his parents and suffered low self-esteem due to his dyslexia. The coroner also heard he had doubts over starting a new job in July 2015.
In a statement read at the inquest, his partner, Barbara Kaye, described how her boyfriend had changed from being the “fun-loving and mischievous” man she knew when she moved into his house in 2014.
She said: “In December 2014 he left his employers and went to America to train with an American company. When he came back he fluctuated between saying he was suicidal and claiming he was okay, to stating he was suicidal and then saying he was okay again.
“I was worried he would crash from his high points. He did. He told me ‘I just want to die’.”
The inquest heard how Mr Guest’s mental health deteriorated and that he disappeared from work in May 2015, with the intention of ending his life, but he instead chose to “start to value life from now on”.
However, the inquest heard, Mr Guest contemplated suicide again after his employers told him they would not be renewing his contract.
And after starting a new job in July, Mr Guest became further depressed after believing he had made the wrong choice about his new career.
A month later his relationship with Ms Kaye deteriorated to the point where they only communicated via email and text.
The inquest heard how Mr Guest had sought help for his depression and met with a crisis team in September 2015.
He was declared high risk of self-harm, but a recording error meant that he was listed as medium risk, the coroner heard.
And two days later a multi-disciplinary team deemed him to be of low risk, because of his engagement with the team.
The inquest heard how medical teams tried to contact Mr Guest days before his death and that a visit was not scheduled until the day after he died.
Mr Guest’s sister, Helen, criticised the downgrading of two risk levels in two days, but added: “I am not saying he could have been saved, I am saying care should have been in place earlier than it was.”
Recording a conclusion of suicide, Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford said: “Events tragically unfolded when Mr Guest’s estranged partner took her daughter to school and returned to be taken completely by surprise when she found Mr Guest had deliberately stabbed himself in the chest.
“The fact that Ms Kaye was taken by surprise, may reflect the fact they were living under the same roof but communicating only by email.
“He was under the care of a mental health team for chronic low mood and anxiety and had been treated and prescribed various medications with no apparent benefit.
“I will record that Mr Guest took his own life while suffering from chronic low mood and anxiety.”