The family of a man whose body was found in the River Ribble described him as an “outgoing, active, adventurous, fun loving man who cared deeply about his family.”Advertisement
John Culshaw, 71, was a keen walker who had scaled the highest peaks in the UK and Ireland.
But in the months before he died, Mr Culshaw suffered severe depression and anxiety, triggered by surgery and a trip to New Zealand.
Speaking at an inquest at Preston Coroner’s Court on Tuesday (11 December), coroner James Newman said: “In my opinion mental illness is one of the greatest demons of our time and it is a condition Mr Culshaw clearly sought to battle for the last seven months of his life.”
The inquest heard in May and June Mr Culshaw had been so unwell he had spent time as an inpatient at Royal Blackburn Hospital.
However his condition seemed to improve and doctors said he was fit to return home, to be treated by the community mental health team.
On June 30, Mr Culshaw’s wife woke to discover her husband had not been to bed and his car was not outside their home.
She reported her husband as missing and Lancashire Police launched a missing person investigation.
The following day, Mr Culshaw’s car was found in a car park in Broadgate, close to Penwortham Holme football grounds, and specialist search teams were called in.
At 6.30pm, Mr Culshaw’s body was recovered from the river.
A post mortem examination found the cause of Mr Culshaw’s death to be drowning, and recorded depression as a secondary cause.
The coroner said: “There is no evidence to suggest anybody else was involved in Mr Culshaw’s death, and I do find on the evidence before me that he actively and deliberately entered the River Ribble, close to where his vehicle was parked.
“I do believe on the evidence that he did so with the intention of taking his own life.”
He recorded a verdict of suicide, adding: “I take this opportunity to offer my sincerest condolences to the family.”
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