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Debt fears led to fire suicide.

Byline: By Robert Brooks

A depressed man burnt himself to death in a garden shed fearing his estranged wife had ran up debts of more than pounds 14,000.

Yesterday an inquest was told that David Thompson had separated from his wife Glynis, 42, just before Christmas last year

The inquest at Alnwick Magistrates' Court yesterday was told that Mr Thompson, of Roosebeck in Red Row, Northumberland, had also been undergoing treatment for depression at St George's Hospital in Morpeth.

The inquest also heard, however, that the debt fears were unfounded.

The 37-year-old joiner had attempted suicide in March this year by taking an overdose because he found it difficult to adjust to the split and was growing increasingly worried about financial problems.

He was admitted to St George's for psychiatric help, but killed himself in the garden of his brother James's home at Sea View, Amble, the following month, during an agreed break from hospital.

It is believed to have doused himself with motor oil or petrol before igniting it with a cigarette lighter.

Coroner Ian McCreath heard from Mr Thompson's family, who said he was not in any financial trouble himself and had appeared untroubled on the morning of his death, April 20.

Police investigation witness, PC Steven Greswell, said: "There was a suggestion of money problems. Mr Thompson suspected his wife was pounds 14,000 in debt.

"That is our understanding, based on the psychiatrist's notes."

But an agent acting for Mrs Thompson at the hearing said the suggestion of her running up debts was "inaccurate" and "could not be relied upon". James Thompson said he had gone to tend to his fishing boat after having a conversation with his brother.

"He said it was OK," he said. "He appeared normal and relaxed.

"He didn't seem depressed when I went down to the harbour, but later that morning I was told my shed was on fire.

"I went straight back home."

No-one was aware that Mr Thompson was inside, until a search of the house uncovered a note he had written.

Firefighters found his charred body crouched inside the shed.

Police investigations later revealed Mr Thompson had spoken of "financial worries" to his doctor at St George's.

Mrs Thomson's agent would make no further comment after the hearing.

Verdict: Suicide.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2004
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