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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Carlisle lawyer was worried over his health, inquest told

A lawyer found dead in the garden of his home had been suffering from severe depression and “was worried he would never get better”, an inquest has heard.

Nicholas Richards photo
Nicholas Richards

Related: Carlisle lawyer found hanged after taking on difficult client

Married father-of-three Nicholas Richards, 50, died at his home in the Etterby area of Carlisle on August 2, 2011.

An inquest into his death was told that Mr Richards had struggled with depression for more than 15 years. In the weeks before his death he had been on a family holiday to Cornwall and considered jumping from a cliff, but decided against it.

It was also revealed that in November 2010 he admitted taking a shotgun out to shoot himself, but thoughts of his family prevented him from doing so.

Mr Richards, who was found hanged, worked as a litigation specialist and partner at Carlisle’s Cartmell Shepherd law firm.

The inquest heard that he had been signed off from work and was worried about how this would impact on his family financially.

Dr Anneke Muller, a consultant psychologist based in Carlisle, said: “It was very difficult for him to switch his thinking to saying he needed to take time to get better.

“I didn’t think we had come to the end of the line and we were looking at different future strategies that may have helped.

“He was worried he would never get better and that we didn’t see how unwell he really was.

“His concerns about finance were affecting his care and possibility of improvement.”

Mr Richards’ GP Dr John Arthur Bone said his illness was first triggered by work-related stress when he lived in London in 1995.

He had been treated at the Hadrian’s Unit of Carlisle’s Carleton psychiatric clinic and was prescribed a variety of different medications.

But he suffered from high anxiety and complained that some drugs left him unable to concentrate, while others had a strong sedative effect.

Dr Muller said: “He had suffered from a severe mental illness.

“He was a very intelligent man who cared passionately about his family, his children and his work.”

The hearing continues.

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