Man’s death was suicide

A WINDOW cleaner from Exmouth, who battled with depression for most of his adult life, hanged himself, a coroner has ruled.

A WINDOW cleaner from Exmouth, who battled with depression for most of his adult life, hanged himself, a coroner has ruled.

Joseph Michael Lee, 62, a self-employed window cleaner from Exeter Road, was found hanging from a door in his lounge on April 6, last year, by police and paramedics.

Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland, sitting at an inquest at Honiton Magistrates' Court, read out written statements and concluded there was "nothing contentious in the evidence," and there was "no evidence that anybody else was involved".

The inquest heard Mr Lee's son, Michael, had visited his father the evening before his father was found dead. They had a cup of tea and he "appeared quite calm".

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But, when his son suggested he go to Exmouth Hospital, he "wasn't willing".

The next morning Mr Lee posted a note through his son's door, prompting his son to check up on him - but when he tried the door, he found it was barricaded with furniture.

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He tried to call his father and then his brother before calling the police and paramedics who forced their way into Mr Lee's Exeter Road home.

Paramedics found Mr Lee hanging by a blue nylon rope - and were too late to attempt resuscitation.

Mr Lee's GP, Dr Wilcox, confirmed in a written statement that Mr Lee had had a history of depression, tried anti-depressants and had previously attempted suicide in 1996.

"Mr Lee had a past history of high blood pressure and depression," wrote Dr Wilcox. He said Mr Lee had had "suicidal thoughts from the age of 16".

Subsequent blood results, said Dr Earland, showed "nothing significant" other than mild pain killers, including aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen in his system.

A member of Exmouth CID said they found two letters at Mr Lee's home, one under a pillow and one on a chest of drawers which, Dr Earland said, indicated his intention to take his own life.

Two photographs and two further notes, one to his wife and another to his family, were also found in Mr Lee's clothes.

Dr Earland concluded: "He took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

"We extend our sympathies."

She apologised to the family for having to wait so long for the inquest and said there were "huge resource problems in the service".

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