Welwyn Garden City war veteran took his own life, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 January 2018

Hatfield Coroner's Court

Hatfield Coroner's Court


A war veteran struggling with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) took his own life and left a farewell note for his son, an inquest heard.

Senior Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan recorded suicide as the cause of death for Ian Spencer, 64, of Aldbury Grove, WGC.

Mr Spencer had passed away some time before police found him at home, having taken an overdose of prescription painkillers.

He was born in Brighton and had served as a fireman in the RAF in Northern Ireland.

Since that time, he had suffered with depression, anxiety, and flashbacks related to PTSD.

In the days leading up to his death, Mr Spencer had told mental health professionals his mood was “black” but said he had no intention of harming himself or others.

When case workers could not contact him on February 15 last year, police were called and his neighbours questioned.

They found Mr Spencer with the drugs and a suicide note at about 5.30pm.

The brief letter apologised to his son and asked God to forgive him.

Mr Sullivan said: “Mr Spencer had a number of physical medical problems as he had type two diabetes and serious chronic back pain.

“He also had significant mental health problems including PTSD and anxiety.”

Mr Sullivan added: “It’s clear that Mr Spencer died as a result of an overdose and there is no evidence there was any third party involved here.”

He offered condolences to the family.

The inquest took place at Herts county council’s Coroners Service in Hatfield.

PTSD is a problem that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic life event.

It can cause recurring nightmares, flashbacks, problems concentrating or sleeping, memory loss, and trouble experiencing positive feelings like happiness.

There is help available for people suffering with PTSD from charities like Mind or Combat Stress.

Click here to find psychotherapy services in the local area.

Anyone suffering with suicidal thoughts can call the Samaritans free on 116 123 for support.

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