Suicide man's life fell apart

THE grieving dad of a man who hanged himself at his Sheffield home told an inquest his son's life had fallen apart after the death of a friend in a holiday accident.

Before the tragedy, in 2003, Chris Norton had been happily married and working as a manager.

But after the death of his friend John Wooley in Thailand, Chris volunteered himself as executor of his pal's estate, including a business, and became overwhelmed.

The inquest was told he left his job, divorced his wife, cut himself off from family and friends and showed signs of mental illness.

In September last year Chris, 44, made a failed suicide bid by taking an overdose of painkillers which he kept a secret from his family.

Then on December 8 last year he hanged himself from the stairs at his home in Station Road, Woodhouse.

His dad Walter Norton, from Selby, North Yorkshire, said: "It seems John's death impacted on him very strongly indeed.

"He felt a duty to do his friend's estate and tried to keep the business running until he could get it turned around. He tried to sort the documentation but had extreme difficulty keeping up with that. I felt he was having major problems."

Mr Norton added: "We couldn't get to the bottom of his real problem."

The inquest heard Chris first sought help from his GP in January 2005 describing feelings of "anger and frustration". He was referred to a mental health worker and was seen by psychiatrists - one of whom diagnosed him with attention deficit disorder. But the finding was doubted by another psychiatrist.

Dr Maria Agundez from Sheffield Care Trust - which looks after mentally ill people in the city - said: "I'm not convinced that was his problem.He wouldn't answer exactly what his problems were."

Following his attempted suicide, Chris was monitored by Sheffield Care Trust's crisis team and workers made regular visits to him.

Eunice Harris, Chris's girlfriend of two years, found his body after coming home from college. She tried in vain to revive him but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Police found a suicide note.

Deputy Coroner Judith Naylor recorded a verdict he had taken his own life.