‘SPIRAL OF DOUBT’ LED TO DEATH OF BUSINESSMAN
Inquest told scaffolding boss was worried about company success
THE grieving widow of a popular businessman found dead at his scaffolding firm has paid tribute to the 58-year-old ‘who would help anybody’.
An inquest heard Andrew Roberts took his own life at Blythe Scaffolding Services, in Cheadle, after becoming concerned over the future of the business and ongoing back problems.
Widow Mandy Roberts and son Jordan found Andrew at the business, off Draycott Cross Road, on May 8.
The inquest heard Andrew, of Forsbrook, set up the firm around 29 years ago – and it continues to run successfully.
Secretary Mandy, who had been with Andrew for 30 years, told the inquest: “He started the company at about the same time we met and it had been successful.
“At the back end of 2017 it wasn’t in a very good place and in his mind it wasn’t doing as well as it was.”
Former pottery worker Andrew was struck down with the recurring back problem again at Christmas 2017.
Mandy added: “I would tell him to stay in bed ,but it really bothered him. He was never off work and would struggle in if he could.
“In early 2018, with his back going again and not being able to go to work, he saw the books for the next year and they were not having as many phone calls.
“In his head he thought it was going downhill. He had to lay some men off as there was no work coming in.”
On the day Andrew passed away, he handed Mandy some money so she could enjoy lunch out with her mum.
But when he didn’t return her calls during the day, Mandy and Jordan went to the yard and found Andrew had hanged himself.
She said: “He just went in himself. Considering he was such an outgoing, bubbly man, who would help anybody, it was awful for us to watch. He had a benign tumour in his ear – but he wouldn’t wear a hearing aid as he was a big, strong, proud man.”
Mandy added: “The company is still going and it is successful.”
North Staffordshire senior coroner Ian Smith had asked Staffordshire Police to carry out a financial investigation following Andrew’s death.
He said: “There is nothing to say he was in financial difficulties. Everything seemed to be in order – all payments due to be made were made on time. I won’t say he was worrying about nothing, but his worries were exaggerated.
“His back was plaguing him and with the fear that it was going to continue to haunt him in the future he had became embroiled in a spiral of doubt and concern and decided to do what he did.”
Mr Smith concluded that Andrew took his own life.