Tragic custody battle dad killed himself - inquest

A FATHER who made headlines when his former partner went on the run with their young daughter developed depression in the years that followed and eventually hanged himself, an inquest heard.

A FATHER who made headlines when his former partner went on the run with their young daughter developed depression in the years that followed and eventually hanged himself, an inquest heard.

Keith Werb had stopped taking his prescription medication in the period that led up to his death on May 6 last year.

The father-of-two killed himself at his home in Valentinus Crescent in Monkwick, Colchester, by hanging himself from a loft hatch.

The inquest at Newbridge House in Chelmsford heard yesterday that Mr Werb had left a note on the door of his home telling his partner not to enter.


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Police were called and concluded there were no suspicious circumstances and a post mortem examination found the cause of death was hanging.

Mr Werb made headlines in 2002 when a long-running custody battle with his former partner culminated in her going into hiding with the couple’s daughter, who was then aged four.

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Mr Werb, who had been awarded full custody of the youngster, was reunited with her after 11 weeks when she was found with her mother and three older sisters in Brentwood.

Assistant deputy Essex coroner Tina Harrington was told that Mr Werb had been depressed and was also in danger of becoming bankrupt.

Coroner’s officer Paul Roberts told the hearing: “In 1998 Mr Werb split with his partner and had a long legal battle to gain access to his child which possibly resulted in his mental health deteriorating and he became very depressed.”

Mr Roberts said Mr Werb had experienced financial and employment difficulties and had been treated by mental health services.

Ms Harrington said she had been given a chronological list of events by Mr Werb’s family and said: “It is a long letter which outlines the litigation with the child and it is believed by the family that this litigation and ongoing acrimonious circumstances resulted in Mr Werb’s depressive illness.

“Assistance was given by the mental health team but towards the end of his life he stopped taking his anti-depressants.”

She added that a GP’s report had been provided of Mr Werb’s medical background which also outlined his “recurrent suicidal thoughts.”

She recorded a verdict of suicide.

“I am satisfied so I feel sure that Mr Werb intended to take his own life and he did so by means of hanging,” Ms Harrington added.

No family member attended the inquest.

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