Depressed granddad, 59, found in reservoir

A DOTING granddad was found dead in a South Yorkshire reservoir after going out for a walk early one morning when he couldn't sleep, an inquest heard.

Mechanic Philip Deakin, aged 59, was suffering from depression and anxiety in the weeks before his death.

But, in the days before he was found at Winscar Reservoir, Dunford Bridge, wife Mary said his mood had improved.

Two notes from him found at their home in Mortimer Road, Penistone, also suggested he had "turned a corner" and was looking forward.

She told a Sheffield inquest about the last time she saw him, on March 4: "We were talking in bed until around 3.30am. He was very positive. We were talking about our holiday to Italy in October.

"I thought he'd gone to sleep and I must have dropped off too. I woke up with a start and he was getting dressed.

"He said he was going for a drive and a walk – I offered to go with him but he said no, he was going for some fresh air and I should get some sleep while he was out. He said 'see you later' or 'see you soon' I can't remember which, and then he left."

His car was found later that day in the car park at the reservoir, and his body was discovered the following afternoon, on March 5, by a Yorkshire Water employee.

The court heard Mr Deakin – who retired from running his own garage in Oxspring, Penistone, a month before he died – had suffered from depression and anxiety since the middle of January.

There was no connection between this and the end of his business, however, and he was said to be "relieved" that the firm was being wound up.

Mrs Deakin said he became on edge, lacked confidence, was often restless, and had serious difficulties sleeping.

At the beginning of February, he saw his GP John Gareth Davies at Kingswell Surgery in Penistone, who prescribed mirtazapine for depression. Within three days, the dosage was doubled.

By the end of February, Mrs Deakin said she was forced to call the mental health crisis centre – which she found out about by chance through a friend – because she didn't know what else to do.

Her husband attended accident and emergency at Barnsley District Hospital, where he was prescribed diazepam to help with his agitation, and it was suggested he see another GP for a second opinion.

A second GP from the same surgery, Dr Bing Hen, said Mr Deakin should continue to take mirtazapine for his depression, and prescribed another drug to help with his anxiety.

The following day, he was seen by community mental health nurse Angela Speight for a "scanning appointment" to determine his needs, followed up by another session a week later. She told the inquest the second time she saw Mr Deakin he had shown a "big improvement" and there was no evidence of suicidal thoughts.

Mrs Deakin and her son Paul both expressed concern at the difficulty they experienced in accessing mental health services.

Paul told the inquest: "We did not feel that they were joined-up."

Pathologist Dr Susan Morgan said the cause of death was drowning.

PC Kerry Briggs told the hearing there were sites at the reservoir where someone could fall in, and also where they could walk into the water.

She said mobile phone evidence showed Mr Deakin's phone had been switched off around 15 minutes after he left his house at around 5.30am.

Assistant deputy coroner Donald Coutts-Wood recorded a 'narrative' verdict.

After the hearing Mr Deakin's son said the family had been told a Primary Care Trust review had been carried out into how to access mental health services.

Paul added: "We firmly believe that what happened to dad was a tragic accident and only wish that we knew exactly what happened."

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