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Worcester man took his own life at Perry Wood bridge, Defford
8:00am Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
“IF he didn’t take the tablets he was in a lot of pain, but if he did, the side effects of the pills made him very low.”
Those were the words of distraught widow Kirsty Hatcher, who has blamed painkillers taken by her Worcester husband for his suicide.
Her husband, Michael, died after being hit by a train in Perry Wood, Defford, near Pershore, on July 1.
The 33-year-old had two fingers removed on his left hand following an accident when he went down a slide as a child.
In 2009, complications meant he had to have the stumps of his ring and little fingers cut off completely.
He was prescribed powerful painkillers gabapentin and dihydrocodeine to relieve the agony he felt in his nerve endings.
But his family believes he was tortured by his need for pain relief, and enduring the side-effects of the drugs, which left him suicidal.
On the day he died, the dad-of-two, who worked as a senior forensic production technician at Evesham firm Foster + Freeman, specialising in crime scenes, left the family home in Worcester after telling his wife, “I love you”.
An inquest on Tuesday heard he left his home in Worcester at 5.40am before going to Perry Wood Bridge where he lay on the track.
Stourport Coroners Court heard he was hit at 7.53am by a train travelling from Derby to Plymouth.
Worcestershire Coroner Geraint Williams recorded a verdict of suicide.
Speaking after the hearing, 28-year-old Mrs Hatcher, a nursery nurse, paid tribute to her husband.
“He was a wonderful man; hard-working, kind and a brilliant husband and father,” she said.
“We met in January 2008 and married in September 2009. We have two children together, Callum who is three and Oscar who is five months old.”
She told how her husband struggled with “constant pain” in his injured hand and battled with the relief offered by the drugs and the side effects he suffered.
“He struggled with the side effects of these tablets for two-and-a-half years,” she said.
“He just couldn’t win. If he didn’t take the tablets he was in a lot of pain, but if he did the side effects of the pills made him very low.
“The weekend before he died he was his happy, normal self, very loving and affectionate. We said so many nice things to each other and were even making plans for the future.
“The morning he died he came up to the bedroom before he left for work and told me that he loved me.
“I told him that I loved him too, that was the last thing we said to each other.
“I have told Callum that daddy has gone to the sky and he keeps telling me to get a really big ladder and bring him back down. I wish it was that simple.”
Mr Hatcher’s sister, Janine Philpotts, 36, said her brother suffered his injuries on a swimming pool slide when the family lived in South Africa, where they were born.
“As he went down, his hand slipped and he caught his fingers and then the doctors had to put pins in them to reset them,” she said.
“A few years down the line, he started suffering from really bad pains in his fingers, so they tried to put pins in it again and they came out the side of his fingers.
He also had bone growing on his fingers too, so he had to have his two fingers amputated, but he was still really suffering with the pain, this was in 2006. In 2009, he had them amputated again.
“As a brother he was brilliant, he would do anything for you and he had a heart of gold.
“He was a really happy person which is why we can’t understand why he did what he did.
“When I found out I went into shock, the whole family did. We’ve put down the reason he did it to the tablets. The gabapentin causes suicidal tendencies.”
The NHS website lists depression among common side effects among patients taking gabapentin.
Mrs Philpotts said: “When he started taking those pills, they just zapped the life out of him. Towards the end he just wasn’t my brother anymore.
“I don’t think my mum or dad will truly ever get over what has happened.
“I want people to know he was a great person and not to think badly of him because of what he did.”
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