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Bridge jump man battled with depression, inquest told

PUBLISHED: 14:20 30 September 2010

Tom Chick, who died after jumping from the Orwell bridge.

Tom Chick, who died after jumping from the Orwell bridge.

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IPSWICH: Parents of a young man who jumped to his death from the Orwell Bridge said their beloved son put a brave face on despite his struggle with depression.

An inquest into the death of 26-year-old Tom Chick, from Ipswich, revealed how a passer-by spotted a body in the River Orwell on Sunday, July 4, and alerted police. It was later identified as Mr Chick.

The inquest held at Ip-City in Ipswich on Tuesday revealed that the cause of death was multiple injuries as a result of a fall from a height.

Greater Suffolk Coroner, Dr Peter Dean recorded the verdict that he took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

In a tribute to their son, his parents, Chris and Jenny, who live in Holbrook, said: “Tom’s family and friends will remember him as a gentle, caring and generous young man who did a great deal of good in his all too short life. He was a son of whom we were, with good reason, very proud.

“We now know from his diaries that he had been struggling to cope with life for some years whilst putting on a brave face even to those who were closest to him. We wish to thank those who tried to help Tom during his last year and have supported us since his death.”

Mr Chick, an engineer who lived in Castle Road, Ipswich, attended Holbrook High School and Ipswich School before going on to Durham University to study engineering. He graduated in 2006.

Dr Dean told the inquest that about a year before his death, Mr Chick had picked up a virus after returning from India where he had gone for work reasons. As a result, he had felt “out of sorts” according to his parents and gradually became depressed.

The coroner’s court heard how Mr Chick, who was a youth group leader at St Matthew’s Church in Ipswich, visited his GP on June 15 where he showed signs of “anxiety and depression”.

At his follow-up appointment on June 25, it was reported he appeared to be a “lot calmer” and was put on anti-depressants. He was also advised to contact the surgery if he had any thoughts of self-harming, it was heard.

On the day of his death, it was heard that he had been to church and appeared to be “well”.

Although Dr Dean said Mr Chick never mentioned he wanted to take his own life, notes to various people were subsequently found after his death.

Dr Dean said: “Looking at all the evidence, it does appear that for whatever reason he had understood and intended the consequences of his actions at that time.”

n Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Chick? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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