Industry leader took his own life

By Juliette MaxamA FORMER industry leader took his own life because he felt he could not cope with losing his sight and his wife's Alzheimer's disease, an inquest heard.

By Juliette Maxam

A FORMER industry leader took his own life because he felt he could not cope with losing his sight and his wife's Alzheimer's disease, an inquest heard.

The inquest was held yesterday into the death of Geoffrey Bone, 86, a wartime jet engineer pioneer who became managing director of Paxman & Co, Colchester, and then Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies in Ipswich.

Mr Bone took an overdose of a mixture of tablets, including paracetamol, and was found dead in his house in Van Dyck Road, Colchester, on May 9 last year.


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The inquest in Colchester heard Mr Bone had left letters explaining his actions to his son, Tony, and his chauffeur and general help, Robert Bourne. He also wrote to his GP saying he intended to stop taking his medication for a heart condition.

Mr Bourne, commenting on conversations he had had with Mr Bone in the months leading to his death, said: "He was anxious about his eyesight.

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"It was his eyesight he'd lost. He'd lost his wife, Wyn, to Alzheimer's. It was the combination of the two."

Mr Bone's son, Tony, said his father had written to him saying he hoped one day he would understand why he had done it.

Pc Lorraine Clarke, of Colchester police, said letters in envelopes addressed to various people had found laid out on a bureau. Drafts of letters to his son had also been discovered in a waste paper bin.

Essex coroner Caroline Beasley Murray recorded a verdict that Mr Bone took his own life.

Mr Bone came from a long line of engineers. During the Second World War, he joined the RAF and was put on secondment to Frank Whittle's jet engine team.

He joined Paxman's when he was demobilised in 1945 and went to Ransome's in 1964, staying there until he retired in 1983.

Mr Bone and his wife also played a prominent part in the Colchester community.

He was a founder member of the town's Mercury Theatre, where until 1984 the studio was named after their daughter, Jenny, who died in a car crash in 1970.

The family asked the playhouse to remove Jenny's name when they became concerned about standards of taste and decency at the Mercury Theatre.

Mr Bone was also involved with Ipswich Port Authority, Colchester Building Society, Colchester Nursing Home, Essex University, Colchester Institute, Ipswich Civic College and Cambridge University.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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