Worker jumped from County Hall balcony

AN ESSEX County Council employee who threw himself to his death from County Hall was worried he was going to lose his job, an inquest has heard. Peter Hart worked as a senior finance officer for the council in Chelmsford but despite being successful in his job, he had a constant fear of failure.

AN ESSEX County Council employee who threw himself to his death from County Hall was worried he was going to lose his job, an inquest has heard.

Peter Hart worked as a senior finance officer for the council in Chelmsford but despite being successful in his job, he had a constant fear of failure.

An inquest at County Hall yesterday heard the 42-year-old married man climbed onto a fourth floor balcony and jumped to his death on June 27 this year.

It emerged Chelmsford man Mr Hart, along with other employees, had been told he would have to re-apply for new jobs and were free to go for interviews elsewhere.

The accomplished piano player's wife, Joanne, told the inquest she and her husband had written a list of his strengths in a bid to boost his confidence, but she later discovered he had added what he believed were his weaknesses.

And despite Mr Hart's fear of failing accountancy exams, results which came through after his death revealed he had passed.

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She said: “He felt he was not good enough to pass them, but he passed those. He had a history of feeling he was not good enough in the workplace.

“There was couple of times where he was worried prior to the exams and looking at going for a more senior position.”

The couple arranged to meet for lunch on June 27, but Mrs Hart did not think her husband was suicidal and he had reassured her of that just the day before.

Benjamin Collins, a council employee, was stood on the balcony when Mr Hart jumped and said the incident happened “in the blink of an eye” but said Mr Hart appeared to be determined.

Mr Hart's supervisor, Susan Stock, told the inquest that Mr Hart had been “happy and outgoing” but she knew he also had personal issues he was dealing with.

“There were no issues with his work and he was well-liked. He performed very well at his work,” she said.

She said when staff were told there would be jobs remaining after restructuring, most thought that would be the case, but Mr Hart needed more reassurance after being told he would have to apply for “one or more” vacant posts.

The cause of death was multiple fractures caused by a fall from height and assistant deputy coroner Chinyere Inyama recorded a verdict of suicide.