Depressed engineer hanged himself after being on long-term sick leave

An engineer hanged himself after becoming depressed over being on long-term sick leave from work.

Paul Davis, 55, of Cockcrow Wood, St Leonards, was signed off by his GP Dr Brian Higginson in March 2005 after suffering from dermatitis due to chemicals at his workplace.

An inquest into his death, which happened on August 15 last year, was held on Wednesday.

Dr Higginson, of Wellington Square Medical Centre, said: "Mr Davis hardly took any time off work over the last 20 years.

"His problems really started from March 2005.

"He was investigated very closely at St Thomas' Hospital in London but doctors could not identify the cause of his dermatitis so he was not able to work again.

"He returned for a brief time but got the same severe reaction."

The GP told the inquest that Mr Davis had overdosed on aspirin 20 years ago after losing his job.

He said: "In 2007 he seemed to be returning to good mental health and was starting a plumbing course but later took a turn for the worse."

Mr Davis spent time in the psychiatric unit at the Conquest Hospital in 2006.

Dr Ivor Gold, consultant psychiatrist from Hastings Community Mental Health Team, said Mr Davis was 'severely depressed and very anxious'.

He said: "Paul had feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. His house was also burgled three weeks before he was admitted to the Conquest which had a very significant negative impact on his mental health."

Dr Gold said Mr Davis became much better after coming off medication but was admitted to the Conquest again last July.

He added that he became better and 'very positive about his future' despite still having low self-sonfidence.

"I did not think he had suicidal thoughts at that moment," Dr Gold told the inquest.

Mr Davis's wife Alyson said: "Over the last year Paul became something of a recluse, not going out and keeping himself to himself."

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of suicide.