A HIGH-flying city executive who was suffering from stress took his own life just hours after he had been playing with his kids.
Roddy Thomson, 40, had risen through the ranks to become Chief Operating Officer of investment giant M&G while maintaining his family life with his wife and two children.
However, in the weeks leading up to his tragic death the stresses of his job had become so severe he had to be treated by paramedics after suffering an anxiety attack, an inquest has heard.
Coroner's Officer Melanie Doyle told the hearing: "He was a family man who loved spending time with friends and his two sons. He was also a keen sportsman and loved playing golf.
"He was upbeat and had a positive outlook on life as well as a fun sense of humour.
“He was very driven and always worked hard. However, he became very stressed with work and his sleep was affected.
"He visited his GP who prescribed him sleeping tablets and spoke to him about Every Mind Matters, an NHS mental health programme."
The hearing at West Sussex Coroner's Court was told that despite the best efforts of his GP, Mr Thomson, who had previously been a leader at Prudential and Openreach, was unable to manage his stress and only days after visiting his doctor in early 2021, he was found on the floor of his bedroom by his wife Emma.
Coroner Sarah Clarke heard that Mr Thomson was diagnosed as having had an anxiety attack and after working with a specialist, had put together a plan about how to manage his stress levels.
However, Ms Doyle explained what happened at the executive's £2.7million home in Liphook, West Sussex, on April 27 this year: "He had a family dinner and played with his sons in the garden and watched some television before he went to bed as normal.
"Mrs Thomson noticed Mr Thomson getting up at around 2.30am and he told her he was going to get a drink. She woke again at 5.30am and noticed that Mr Thomson was not in bed.
"She went to look for him and found him in the garden, behind the shed and surrounded by large bushes. He had a deep cut wound to his neck and a kitchen knife by his side.
"He was confirmed dead at 6.14am and no suicide notes were found."
A post-mortem examination carried out by Dr Tijjani Umar concluded that Mr Thomson had died due to severe blood loss from the wound in his neck.
A toxicological examination found no drugs or alcohol in the executive's blood.
Summing up the inquest, Ms Clarke said: "To reach a conclusion of suicide I have to conclude that this was a deliberate act by Mr Tomson and that he intended to end his life and whether there was any other explanation for that act.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
"The circumstances that have been relayed to me lead me to find on the balance of probabilities that this was a deliberate act by Mr Thomson and that he did intend to end his life and importantly I find no other explanation for that act.
"I therefore record a verdict of suicide and I extend my condolences to Mr Thomson's family and friends."
At the time of his death, an M&G spokesman said: "Roddy was a great colleague and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this difficult time."
The Unite Union section for Prudential staff, where Mr Thomson had previously worked, added: "We are deeply shocked and saddened at the news that Roddy Thomson has passed away.
"Whilst inevitably, we could not always agree on things, we felt that Roddy genuinely cared about colleagues and most importantly, listened to us. Roddy was incredibly approachable and would always take time out to have a chat.
"Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this extremely difficult time."
Contact the Samaritans
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact The Samaritans on 116 123.
They are available for free at anytime.
Or email https://www.samaritans.org/
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