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Suicide of driver who killed man in collision.

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth Reporter

A MAN whose careless driving killed a muchloved grandfather went on to take his own life, an inquest heard yesterday. Michael Bristow, of Ushaw Moor, County Durham, was found hanging in the upstairs bedroom of his home on November 23 of last year.

It came 15 months after 72-year-old Brian Pattinson died when his and Bristow's cars were involved in a head-on road smash.

Police were called to the 36-year-old's house on Ushaw Terrace in the village at around 5pm as concern was growing for his safety.

The inquest at Crook Civic Centre yesterday heard Mr Bristow was arguing with his partner earlier that day.

When his girlfriend left, he had locked himself inside and had both his own and his partner's mobile phone with him.

Texts would later reveal that Mr Bristow had made threats to take his own life.

Police said Mr Bristow, who was known to friends and family as Mickey, fashioned a hanging device inside the home and hung himself.

He was discovered by his father Eric who was one of the first to get into the house.

Police concluded there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Bristow's death or any third party involvement.

Toxicology reports showed he had prescription drugs in his system which were at 'therapeutical levels' and that alcohol played no part in Mr Bristow's death.

A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death to be hanging.

Back in July 2012, Mr Bristow had been driving a VW Bora east on Broom Lane, near Ushaw Moor, following a Seat Leon and an Audi.

The Leon driver made to turn into a picnic area and slowed before Mr Bristow's Bora hit the back of the Audi and swerved into the path of Mr Pattinson's Peugeot 205.

The pensioner, from Oswald Court, Durham City, was taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary but died the next day.

On sentencing, Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Bristow was travelling within the 60mph speed limit but had been momentarily blinded by the sun.

Mr Bristow was banned from driving for 12 months, given a community order and an PS85 fine.

Following his sentence Mr Pattinson's family spoke out and called for a change in the law.

At yesterday's hearing, uncle John Holmes said the 'last two years' had an impact on Mr Bristow's outlook but, following a short discussion with family members, decided to say no more.

Senior coroner for County Durham Andrew Tweddle recorded a verdict of suicide.

He said he was aware of the "background" and believed Mr Bristow had intentionally taken his own life.

He said: "The conclusion that I have come to is that this was self-inflicted.

"Mickey decided to take his own life."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2014
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