Councillor in suicide tragedy

A Councillor who was convinced he had a serious illness hanged himself after complaining of excruciating pain, an inquest heard.

Derek Parsons, 68. of Malvern Close, Newmarket, was found hanged from a tree in woodland off Duchess Drive in the town on August 1, around 12 hours after his wife, Gillian, reported him missing.

The hearing at Ely Magistrates Court on Friday heard that Mr Parsons, who had represented the Cheveley ward on East Cambridgeshire Council since 2003, had been complaining of pain all over his body since March after he was involved in a car accident while on holiday in Tenerife.

Mrs Parsons said: "He told me that he was in pain and could not take it any longer and would put an end to things if he knew how."

Medical reports read by North and East Cambridgeshire coroner William Morris described how Mr Parsons, had complained of back, chest and genital pain on numerous occasions since the accident.

A variety of tests were conducted including a bone scan, which showed no abnormalities.

Mrs Parsons said her husband was a worrier and was convinced he had cancer or a serious illness. "He could not accept that he did not have anything seriously wrong with him," she said.

In a statement, Dr Jeremy Webb, Mr Parsons' GP at Orchard House Surgery in Newmarket, said his patient developed phobic anxiety and began taking anti-depressants around two to three weeks before his death.

Sgt Stephen Spackman, based at Ely Police Station, told the inquest that a step ladder was found next to him along with an unopened bottle of whisky. No note had been left.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Morris said: "Whether he had a physical cause of his pain, he was feeling pain, in pain, and was not coping with it."

Mr Parsons, had a daughter, Clare, and three grandchildren, Terry, Vincent and Fiona. He was elected to the council as a Conservative in May 2003 but changed his allegiance to Independent six months later. During his time as a councillor he backed a campaign to keep New Cheveley Road Post office open organising a petition against the Post Office's closureplans.