Councillor took his own life - inquest

A POPULAR councillor hung himself after complaining of excruciating pain which had baffled doctors, an inquest heard.Derek Parsons, 68, who was re-election to the Cheveley seat on East Cambridgeshire District Council in May 2003 as an Independent, was found hanging from a tree in woodland off Duchess Drive, Newmarket, on August 1 this year.

A POPULAR councillor hung himself after complaining of excruciating pain which had baffled doctors, an inquest heard.

Derek Parsons, 68, who was re-election to the Cheveley seat on East Cambridgeshire District Council in May 2003 as an Independent, was found hanging from a tree in woodland off Duchess Drive, Newmarket, on August 1 this year.

A full and unopened whisky bottle was found next to his body, along will a stepladder, and police said there was no evidence of foul play, yesterday's inquest in Ely was told.

Mr Parsons' wife Gillian, who lived with her husband at their home in Malvern Close, Newmarket, told the hearing at Ely Magistrates Court that her husband had been experiencing pain in his back, arms and pelvic area ever since he was involved in a car accident while on holiday in Tenerife in March.


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She said the mystery problem had begun to get to him and as the pain continued to go undiagnosed he became increasingly desperate.

“That's when things started to get serious. He told me that if the pain wouldn't end he would find some way of ending it. I took it as a cry for help, but maybe he just couldn't cope with the pain anymore,” she said.

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Despite getting the opinions of two doctors, and having bone scans and treatment, doctors could only find some degeneration in his spine, which would not account for the levels of pain he said he was experiencing, the inquest heard

Polymyalgia, a nerve condition, was given as a possible cause for his pain but this was never diagnosed, it was said.

Dr Jeremy Webb, of Orchard House Surgery, Newmarket, told the inquest in a statement: “There wasn't a physical cause for his ailment but there may have been a psychological one.”

North and East Cambridgeshire coroner William Morris recorded a verdict of suicide.

At the time of his death, East Cambridgeshire District Council chairman Jeremy Friend-Smith said: “Cllr Parsons was a public-spirited gentleman whose sole aim in public life was to provide good representation to his constituents, whom he served well.”

Mr Parsons also served on the council's licensing and planning committees as well as the joint area transport committee.

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