Inquest told of office death plunge

A CORONER is to ask communications giant BT to look at ways of detecting early stress in staff after an employee plunged to his death from an office window.

By Danielle Nuttall

A CORONER is to ask communications giant BT to look at ways of detecting early stress in staff after an employee plunged to his death from an office window.

Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean said he would write to the organisation at the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Peter Adams yesterday, in which he recorded a verdict of suicide.

But Dr Dean stressed there was no suggestion of any liability on BT's part and that he was merely writing to ask whether there was any processes that could be developed to recognise early signs of stress in staff.

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The inquest heard Mr Adams, 54, of Daundy Close, Hadleigh Road in Ipswich, had worked for BT as a mobile standards manager for many years.

In a written statement read out during the inquest, Mr Adams' wife Juliette said her husband had been suffering from sleeping problems and night sweats, in which he would have to sleep with a towel under his pillow.

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This occurred, she said, around the same time as a re-organisation programme at his work.

Mrs Adams said her husband had an extreme dread of the future and was very concerned about how he would fit in with the company's re-organisation plans.

She said he had told his doctor he felt he was past his sell by date at BT.

As well as sleeping problems, Mrs Adams said her husband suffered from short-term memory loss and had previously threatened to jump out of a window, saying it was the only way to get through to the management.

“When Peter threatened to jump out of a window I realised the fragile state he was in.

“I did not expect him to carry out the threat but I wasn't surprised when it happened,” Mrs Adams' statement read.

The inquest, which was held at Endeavour House in Ipswich, heard how on April 2 employee Timothy Moore parked his car at the BT Computer Centre in Bibb Way, Ipswich, before going shopping in town.

On his return, he noticed a man lying on the ground who he thought was sitting in the sun.

When he got closer, however, he noticed his legs were lying awkwardly, and there was an open sash window above, the inquest heard.

An ambulance was called and another employee administered first aid before paramedics arrived.

However Mr Adams was pronounced dead at Ipswich Hospital.

An investigation found Mr Adams had fallen from an open window four storeys up.

In returning a verdict of suicide, Dr Dean said: “What we have here is somebody who clearly felt themselves to be under considerable degrees of stress and pressures.

“The outward perception from those at work seems to be of someone who was doing well.

“I will write to BT just to ask them to consider the circumstances around this very sad death.

“I would emphasise the letter is in no way any suggestion of liability touching the death.

“Somebody clearly felt very much under stress inwardly but it appears there were no detectable signs in the workplace.

“I'm going to ask BT to look at the circumstances to see whether there are any possible ways that they can see of picking up early warning signs of stress in employees.”

Last night a BT spokesman said: “We have noted what the Coroner said and we will of course give full consideration to any correspondence we receive from him and will respond accordingly.

“BT would again like to express its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Peter Adams at this time.”

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