Wigan dad's death may have been avoided

Helder Colsoul
Helder Colsoul

A Wigan dad’s suicide might have been avoided if he’d only been prescribed small amounts of medication at once, an inquest heard.


Helder Ricardo Coelho Colsoul took a lethal overdose of his own prescription drugs in August last year after years of suffering with mental health issues.

Describing it as “an extremely distressing case”, the coroner said that the 42-year-old’s death might have been averted if health bosses had been more vigilant and not prescribed such large amounts of the medication, with which he had used to kill himself, in one go.

The hearing though was also full of emotional tributes to the father-of-three who was described as a “fine gentleman” who was loved by all who knew him.

During the hearing at Bolton Coroner’s Court, tributes were paid to Mr Colsoul by his wife Caroline, who was supported by her parents.

Mrs Colsoul, who fought back tears throughout proceedings, said: “He was a very caring person, everyone loved him.

“Everyone thought very highly of him.

“He would do anything for anybody.

“If anybody needed anything, he would help them.”

The inquest heard how Mr Colsoul emigrated to the UK from his home in Lisbon, Portugal, when he was a 19-year-old.

Originally settling in Chorley, he met Caroline in 1999. They married in 2000, and the couple moved to Marsh Green for a short time before settling in Ashton-In-Makerfield.

Having originally been a cleaner and then a kitchen porter, he was most recently a full-time carer for his wife.

The inquest was told that he had suffered from anxiety and depression for many years, and Caroline revealed he was prone to being “very self-analytical”, to the extent he “worried about what he said to people” and found situations such as large gatherings “overwhelming”.

He had confided in his wife that he had wanted to harm himself on a number of occasions, but said he “wouldn’t do anything because he wanted to be there for her and the kids”.

He also appeared to be “happy and well” in the week before his death.

But last August, while Caroline and the children were visiting her parents, Mr Colsoul took a large quantity of his own prescription medicines.

He was rushed to hospital after Caroline returned home to find what had happened, and he was said to be alert and conscious in the ambulance.

The hearing was told that there was “a sense of optimism” that he would pull through, but his condition deteriorated over night and, sadly, he died on the morning of Sunday, August 26.

Such was his character, it was revealed that in the hours before his death, he had got out of his hospital bed to defend a nurse who was being verbally abused by another patient.

“That was typical of who he was as a person”, Coroner Simon Nelson said.

A verdict of “suicide while suffering from a depressive illness” was recorded, with Mr Nelson stating that “the context of his actions must be made evident.”

Mr Nelson also called upon health bosses to be more vigilant when prescribing large quantities of medication in one go instead of a steady prescription of smaller amounts, saying that Mr Colsoul’s death “may have been averted” if this had been the case.

He said: “This has been an extremely distressing case.

“I can’t begin to imagine the hurt and distress your family have felt over the past few months.”

A heartbroken Caroline told Mr Nelson: “If I had known what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have left him.”

But Mr Nelson said: “You express regret, ‘if only you had not gone away for the weekend’.

“Let me tell you, in my own experience, that the taking of one’s own life is totally unpredictable.

“You were not to know.

“Nothing in his behaviour was suggestive of what was to unfold.

“Do not reproach yourself in any way for what occurred.”

Mr Nelson concluded: “It is clear that Mr Colsoul was a very fine gentleman with many wonderful, caring traits.

“I know you will retain very special memories of good times together, and hopefully you will, over the course of time, come to terms with what has happened.”

If you need to talk to someone, The Samaritans are available around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call free any time, from any phone on 116 123.