‘SPI­RAL OF DOUBT’ LED TO DEATH OF BUSI­NESS­MAN

In­quest told scaf­fold­ing boss was wor­ried about com­pany suc­cess

The Sentinel - - NEWS - Dave Knap­per david.knap­[email protected]­plc.com

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.

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