Dove Holes man took his own life because of ill health

Chesterfield Coroner's Court
Chesterfield Coroner's Court

Deteriorating ill-health led a Dove Holes man to take his own life, an inquest heard.

Timothy Birchenough, known as Tim, was found hanged at the farm he shared with his brother Guy on Longridge Lane on December 5, 2013.

Two days earlier, he had attended an appointment at Macclesfield Hospital where he had not received good news, the inquest, held in Chesterfield, heard.

Maurice Goodwin, who had been friends with Tim for 30 years as well as working for him as a lorry driver for the last five years, took him to the hospital on December 3.

He said: “When he came out and got in the car, I just said to him ‘what did they say today Tim?’ He said they’d told him he was not going to get any better.”

Mr Goodwin said Tim barely spoke on the journey home apart from saying: “I don’t think I can carry on much longer like this.”

He added: “He was so bubbly, outgoing and very happy. He always had a joke.” But after becoming ill, he changed, Mr Goodwin said: “He just didn’t say a lot to what he usually did. He was gradually going down and down. Tim was a very, very poorly fella.”

And his brother Guy said: “He wasn’t doing well physically. He couldn’t stand up, he got dizzy, he had no strength. He never laughed or told jokes.

“He just wasn’t my brother any more.”

He added: “At the end of the day, all you’ve got is your health. If that goes, that’s it.”

On December 5, Guy had gone to work as normal, leaving 55-year-old Tim at home, the inquest heard.

During the day, he decided to call his brother to see how he was, but when he didn’t get an answer on his mobile phone he became worried and asked a friend to go round and check on him.

He was unable to see Mr Birchenough when he went round so Guy asked another friend, Mark Webster, to go round instead.

Mr Webster then found Tim hanging in one of the outbuildings on the farm.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, assistant coroner Paul McCandless said: “I’m aware from the evidence of Mr Goodwin that his ill-health undoubtedly took a considerable toll upon Mr Birchenough at the very end of his life. From his brother I understand he was an extremely able, free-spirited man who liked to be out and about doing various tasks.

“He was a bubbly, outgoing type. To be so laid low by ill-health was going to mean so much to him, his whole quality of life was going to be different.

“He really thought he wasn’t going to be able to carry on in that way.”