Dronfield brother’s copycat hanging

A TROUBLED Dronfield man was found hanged in woodland close to where his brother died three years earlier.

The body of Nicholas Walton, who went missing last August 19, was found hanged from a tree at Moorhay Farm, Wigley, near Chesterfield, on October 14.

His brother, Christopher, died in May 2007. His body was found hanged in Linacre reservoir woods, a popular beauty spot a short distance away.

Their father, plumber Anthony Walton, told an inquest: “Whether Nick wanted to do it to be with his brother, I don’t know.”

Mr Walton (45) suffered from depression and anxiety and was admitted to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital last May after taking an overdose of paracetamol and anti-depressants.

While in hospital, he slashed both his wrists and lost 500ml of blood, the Chesterfield inquest heard.

He was subsequently transferred to a Bradford psychiatric hospital and, following release, lived with aunt and uncle.

Mr Walton, who was under the care of a Sheffield clinic, appeared stable and denied any thoughts of suicide during an assessment on August 2.

He moved back into his parents’ home in Paddock Way, Dronfield, on August 10. Psychiatric nurse Andrew Parr reported that he seemed relaxed and calm and unaffected by his mother’s mental health problems.

Sharon Ward, a manager for a mental health crisis resolution team, stated that Mr Walton had said he would not commit suicide because of the effect that his brother’s death had on the family.

He saw his GP, Dr Sarah Wilkinson, on August 19 and told her his mother was unwell and his home situation was “difficult” but he was not having thoughts of self-harming.

He was reported missing from home later that day and his car was found that night at Linacre - prompting woodland searches by police and rescue workers.

Mr Walton’s decomposed body was found almost four weeks later in a nearby wood by Daniel Carpenter, who was clearing gorse bushes with the landowner, Colin Lamb.

“It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t under the treatment of a psychiatrist after being discharged from Bradford but those attached to the psychaitric services were seeing him regularly and he doesn’t seem to have given any indication as to his intentions,” said deputy north Derbyshire coroner Nigel Anderson.

He said Dr Wilkinson would have raised the alarm if Mr Walton had shown any signs of wishing to harm himself.

While the circumstances pointed towards suicide, Mr Anderson said he had to be sure beyond doubt before recording such a verdict, but there was insufficient evidence, such as a suicide note or recent statement of intent to kill himself.

He recorded an open verdict on Mr Walton, who had worked for his father as a tiler.