A COUNCIL worker repeatedly attempted suicide because he couldn’t cope with the reorganisation of local government.
Ian David Collingwood, 58, a clerical officer for more than 30 years, became depressed about the end of Cheshire County Council and first attempted suicide in February 2009 – two months before Cheshire West and Chester Council began.
At the inquest into his death at Cheshire Magistrates Court on Friday, September 23, his distraught partner of 30 years Frederick Alan Williams said: “He had been working at County Hall since 1977 and his job was his life. He couldn’t cope with the end of Cheshire County Council.”
Over the next year, Mr Collingwood considered jumping off a bridge, took three overdoses and drank a cocktail of bleach and rum as well as trying to set fire to himself after drinking petrol.
He was twice admitted to Bowmere Hospital and received electroconvulsive therapy as well as medication in an attempt to treat what was described in his medical records as ‘major depressive disorder’.
It was said he had no fear of dying and often talked of ending his life before he was 58, which was how old his father was when he died.
No suicide attempts were made before the reorganisation and he later took voluntary redundancy.
In the days before his death, he had caused Mr Williams a great deal of concern, particularly after buying a new washing line.
Police and paramedics found Mr Collingwood at his home in Parkgate Road on March 30 after he had used the washing line to hang himself.
Assistant deputy coroner for Cheshire Michael Wallbank said: “It would have been extremely difficult to prevent this tragic event.”
Verdict: Mr Collingwood took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.