Love-split torment ended in tragedy
05 August 2009
By Lisa Nightingale
A father killed himself after falling into depression contributed to by years of problems with his estranged wife, an inquest heard.
Steven Rodgers was found dead in his bed after overdosing on prescription drugs for a heart condition and depression.
He was discovered on February 3 by new partner Susan Redmayne who had let herself in to his flat in Front Street in East Boldon.
She had become concerned for his safety after he failed to turn up to his job as assistant manager at Morrisons in Seaburn and she was unable to contact him.
Miss Redmayne, said: “I went in and saw the dog and two letters. I looked on the table and his car keys were still there.
“I began searching for him and the last place I went into was the bedroom and that’s where I found him.
“I went up to him and touched him, he was stone cold.”
Yesterday, an inquest into his death heard results from a toxicology report showed Mr Rodgers had levels of propanol, a betablocker, and mirtazapine, an anti-depressant, at levels where either one was “sufficient enough to cause sudden death”.
Coroner Terence Carney was told by Mr Rodgers’ sister, Kathleen, how after the 44-year-old, originally from Sunderland, was diagnosed with angina he had felt more tired but had carried on working.
He was also going through the process of a divorce after 10 years of marriage. The separation had been acrimonious and for the past two years he had endured late-night visits and phonecalls from his estranged wife.
He was also worried about his finances after falling behind with debt payments.
Miss Rodgers, said: “He would stay in a lot as he was frightened Pauline would cause trouble. She had been down to his works recently.
He used to laugh it off as he didn’t want us to worry.
“He wouldn’t go into details but he always said she was hanging around and knocking on his door, sometimes at 4am.”
Miss Redmayne told Mr Carney how the police and bomb squad were called out on two occasions after he found mobile phones taped underneath his vehicle.
A police officer attending the inquest said she had no knowledge of these calls.
Miss Redmayne added: “I just felt he couldn’t take anymore. He had just hit rock bottom.”
Mr Carney, said: “There is no doubt in my mind this was a man who for some considerable time and more recently has been suffering from acute depression.
“It appears that his domestic situation was the factor of much of that depression and I agree with the evidence I have heard from family for some considerable time he was suffering ongoing anxiety and pressure of an unresolved domestic situation.
“Clearly the effects in my view of that ongoing stress have impacted greatly on this man’s decision to ultimately kill himself.”
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Rodgers’ estranged wife, Pauline, of Herrington, said she was too distraught to attend yesterday’s inquest and didn’t want to upset the rest of Steven’s family.
She added: “I was upset when I found out he had a heart attack. I was past myself.
“To find out he had really acute heart problems was upsetting. You can’t be with someone all those years and not feel anything, and I do.”
Mr Carney gave a narrative verdict and recorded his death was as a result of taking propanol and mirtazapine.
He also recorded that he self-administered these drugs, consequently killing himself, and that at the time he was suffering from acute depression.
Speaking after the inquest his family said Steven was “one in a million”.
The full article contains 615 words and appears in Sunderland Echo newspaper.
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