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Torment of bridge death man's family
THE family of a man who fell to his death from a city centre footbridge have questioned whether medication played a role in the tragedy.
Christopher Handley, aged 42, of Hathaway Close, Dines Green, Worcester, fell from the bridge on City Walls Road on Tuesday, August 7.
His parents believe medication he was prescribed for a variety of mental health issues left him suicidal.
Speaking at the inquest into his death yesterday, Thomas and Carol Handley said their son was a member of the Tourette Syndrome Association and had previously sought help from the Samaritans.
Mrs Handley said: “The side-effects of his medication were suicidal thoughts and self-harm. He was never like that before. We did not expect this to happen, it happened out of the blue.
"We were always in contact by text, phone or visits depending on what his needs were. If he needed anything he would phone.”
Mr Handley fell to his death three days after being charged with grievous bodily harm. He was released on bail the day before his death.
Dr Richard Crellin, a consultant psychiatrist at a mental health resource centre at Studdert Kennedy House, off City Walls Road, said Mr Handley suffered from a variety of illnesses such as anxiety, depression and Tourette’s syndrome over 10 years.
His parents raised concerns about the care given to him and the appropriateness of his diagnosis and medication.
While in custody, Dr Kelvin Laidlaw, a forensic medical examiner, called Mr Handley as distressed and said he had three self-inflicted scratches on his left wrist, but deemed him fit to be questioned.
Duty solicitor Paul Stanley and custody officer Ronald Wyatt shared these concerns, before Mr Handley was bailed to the home of his friend, Ricky Gorman, off Barbourne Terrace.
On the day of his death Mr Handley told Victoria Harper, an admin supervisor at Studdert Kennedy House, he “did not want to be here” and could not serve eight years in prison if convicted at Worcester Crown Court on Monday, November 26.
At about 3pm that day Mr Gorman was driving along City Walls Road when he saw Mr Handley jump backwards off the bridge and scream. He said his friend had been quiet, upset and crying while at home .
Mr Handley died in A&E at Worcestershire Royal Hospital at about 3.30pm.
The cause of death was given as shock and hemorrhaging caused by multiple injuries consequent with blunt force trauma consistent with a fall.
Coroner Geraint Williams ruled out verdicts of suicide and accidental death and recorded an open verdict.
He said: “I don’t know what was in your son’s mind. I don’t know if he let go deliberately or if it was due to his Tourettes.”