Clowne OAP hanging death inquest: 'He took his own life'

A PENSIONER hanged himself near his Clowne home after writing a note to his wife stating that he could not bear any more panic attacks.

Retired miner Kenneth Childs, 76, had been diagnosed with a non-aggressive blood cancer that doctors believed would not cut short his life.

He made a good recovery following a knee replacement operation last year but suffered pain from a shoulder injury and began having panic attacks in October.

His widow, Iris Childs, told an inquest that the attacks affected his breathing, appetite and sleep and caused him to have low moods.

On 7th December, he told her he wanted to die. An emergency doctor visited him, told him he had a chest infection and he seemed fine the next day.

Mrs Childs, 78, said he put his arm around her during the night of 9th December. She fell asleep and, at about 6am the following morning, police visited her Damsbrook Drive home and informed her he was dead.

Mr Childs' body had been found suspended by a ligature tied to a tree on open land. The grim discovery was made by neighbours Michael and Joyce Hutchinson.

Mr Hutchinson, a friend of Mr Childs for 25 years, said he went to investigate after his wife told him that a man was staring at them. He then realised that the figure in the dark was hanged from the tree.

"She walked up and shone the torch in his face and said: 'It's Ken'," added Mr Hutchinson, who called police.

Pathologist Dr Roger Start gave the cause of death as hanging. There was no evidence of alcohol or a drug overdose.

Then, on 20th October, Mr Childs told him he was having panic attacks. He believed Mr Childs was suffering from anxiety and the panic attacks appeared to have worsened by 21st November.

Dr Collins said medication was prescribed and he wanted Mr Childs to see a specialist regarding anxiety and depression but no appointments were available until January.

He added that anxiety could cause someone to behave or react in a way that was inappropriate.

Acting North Derbyshire Coroner Dr Robert Hunter believed Mr Childs' condition had affected his ability to think in a rational way prior to death.

"He had no depressive illnesses in the past and had not self-harmed but in the latter months he was increasingly suffering from anxiety and panic attacks," said Dr Hunter.

He believed Mr Childs may have beenworrying about his ailments. He became ‘worked up’ into a panic attack and wrote a note to his wife, saying he could not take any more of the attacks.

Dr Hunter recorded a verdict that Mr Childs took his own life while the balance of his mind was temporarily upset.