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Son of broadcasters 'took own life'

PUBLISHED: 07:16 05 February 2007 | UPDATED: 17:43 25 February 2010

THE son of broadcasters Paul Heiney and Libby Purves took his own life at their Suffolk home, an inquest has determined.

Nicholas Heiney, 23, was found hanging at the family home after losing his battle with a serious depressive illness on June 26 last year.

THE son of broadcasters Paul Heiney and Libby Purves took his own life at their Suffolk home, an inquest has determined.

Nicholas Heiney, 23, was found hanging at the family home after losing his battle with a serious depressive illness on June 26 last year.

The Oxford graduate's inquest was presided over by Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean at Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters in Ipswich.

Paramedics alerted police after they were called to the family home in Westleton after Nicholas' body was discovered.

His father was in America at the time of his son's suicide and returned home immediately he was informed.

Nicholas had suffered mental illness for some time and received medical treatment for his condition.

However, as a teenager he appeared to have the world at his feet. Sharing his parents' love of sailing and the sea, he crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific as a teenage deckhand on a square-rigged Dutch ship, the Europa, helping train young Koreans in seamanship.

In 2005 Nicholas graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, where he studied English.

Although he had ambitions to teach at university level his post-graduate life fragmented and it was said that it had “come to seem pointless”.

A statement issued at the time of his death by his family - which also includes his sister, Rose - said Nicholas had tried out jobs as a short-term intern.

However, it said: “He had little confidence, yet came back from every posting whether at the National Theatre or a jewellery stall, with good stories and insights, even when he was low.

“He loved radio comedy and had a wonderfully dry sense of humour.

“From childhood, Nicholas never found life easy, but he lived it with courage, humour and dignity in spite of diffidence and the depressive illness which, in the end, violently overcame him.

“He will not be forgotten. Tributes to his gentleness and fineness of mind pour in. God rest him.”

After hearing the circumstances of Nicholas' death which came out during the inquest, Dr Dean's finding was that he took his own life.

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