Coroner calls for 'drastic change' after death of much-loved young Derbyshire man

The death of a much-loved young Derbyshire man who took his own life after his business plunged into financial trouble has prompted a coroner to call for 'drastic change'.
The inquest took place at Chesterfield Coroner's Court this morning.The inquest took place at Chesterfield Coroner's Court this morning.
The inquest took place at Chesterfield Coroner's Court this morning.

Harry Anderson drove to Dronfield's Contact Club, where'd been a regular since he was a teenager, in April of this year and took his own life in his car.

He was just 25-years-old.

A documentary inquest examining the circumstances of Harry's death, held today (Thursday, October 24) at Chesterfield Coroner's Court heard that he had a 'lovely life' and was 'very close' to his supportive parents and siblings.

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As well as a 'pleasant and personable' young man, Harry, of Firthwood Road in Coal Aston, was very ambitious and launched his own accounting business in 2017.

But he fell into financial trouble, secretly racking up around £27,000 in debt.

Harry would often ask to borrow money off his parents, Archibald and Joanne, who reassured him they would do 'everything they could' to help.

They offered to write off the money he owed them and sought support from the Citizen's Advice Bureau so that Harry have a 'fresh start' in 2019.

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But they were unaware that Harry had visited his GP as he was suffering from depression, anxiety and insomnia.

He told the doctor he'd been having suicidal thoughts, but didn't think he'd act on them as didn't want to leave his girlfriend, Michelle, behind.

His mum told the court: "He was so happy-go-lucky, always came in laughing and joking. He put up a good front. I don't think he wanted to bring his troubles to us."

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Harry was prescribed medication and placed under the care of the local mental health crisis team, but stopped taking the tablets and failed to show up to follow-up appointments.

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On the morning of April 6, Matthew Davis, who works at Dronfield Contact Club, spotted Harry's white Vauxhall Astra in the car park, hidden from view.

"I've known Harry for around 11 years and his car was quite distinctive, so I knew it was him," said Mr Davis in a statement read aloud to the court.

Approaching the vehicle, Mr Davis saw Harry 'asleep' in the backseat and 'assumed he must have had a heavy night'.

He went to mow the grass for around half an hour before returning to check on Harry- it was then that he noticed he wasn't breathing.

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Mr Davis immediately dialled 999 before attempting to smash the car window with a brick, but was unsuccessful.

He and a friend then managed to smash the window with a hammer and retrieve the keys to the car before pulling Harry out.

They performed CPR before Harry's dad arrived and took over.

"He was getting a bit of colour back and I thought I was going to save him," Mr Anderson said.

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Harry was taken to the Northern General Hospital and placed in an induced coma. He died two days later, on April 8.

Addressing Harry's devastated parents, assistant coroner for Derbyshire, Matthew Kewley, said: "There's frankly nothing I can say by way of condolences that will improve things for you.

"But it's certainly not lost on me what a delightful chap Harry was.

"He was clearly very entrepreneurial, had a clear sense of what he wanted to achieve in life and had so much more to give.

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"One of the saddest things I see in my role as a coroner are these cases of young men who just don't feel able to open up.

"It's astonishing that in 2019 we are still in this place. In my time as a coroner, I really hope things change drastically."

Mr Kewley concluded that Harry had died of suicide, adding: "The court is satisfied on the evidence that Mr Anderson intentionally brought about the end of his own life."

The medical causes of death were given as carbon monoxide poisoning and depression.

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If you're feeling like you want to die, it's important to tell someone.

Help and support is available right now if you need it. You don't have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

Call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.

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