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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Hanged man was worried about job

A SELLAFIELD manager described by his family as “a bit of a worrier’’ took his own life amidst irrational fears about his job, an inquest found.

The body of Frank Jones was discovered by his wife, Jacqueline, on October 10 last year, hanging in the garden of his home at Kirkstone Road, Mirehouse, Whitehaven. He was 51 and an operations support manager at the nuclear plant.

Death had been almost instantaneous due to pressure on the vagal nerve which would have caused a cardiac arrest, the West Cumbria Coroner David Roberts heard.

Mrs Jones, 53, a supermarket manager, told Mr Roberts at Monday’s hearing held at Workington: “I don’t know why he didn’t come and talk to me if he felt bad. We always talked about everything.’’

She said the day before his death her husband had been at home trying to complete an online vetting form in relation to work and became increasingly frustrated as the computer kept crashing, five or six times.

“His reactions were irrational. He had convinced himself he was going to lose his vetting and therefore his job. He was such a proud man, he was worried about letting us down. I had never seen him like that.’’

The following morning her husband had got up first, as was usual, and showered. When Mrs Jones went downstairs she could not find her husband, until she went outside. She screamed and a neighbour came to her aid.

The coroner recorded a verdict that Mr Jones had taken his own life. No medication, alcohol or drugs had been found in his body.

Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Jones came from an Army family that had moved about. He had joined the Army at 16 and had served in Northern Ireland and Cyprus. After he met and married his wife and the couple had a son, Martin, he decided to leave the forces in 1991, to give some stability to family life.

He secured a job as a control room operator with the Thorp project at Sellafield and moved to West Cumbria. He held several positions within the Mox department and his job had been under review several times. During a recent jobs review at the plant he had, along with his colleagues, been worried about job security. But he had secured a new post.

There was some history of depression and Mr Jones had suffered a breakdown in 1998, when his mother died and he was feeling the pressure of work.

“He would do everything at a 100 per cent and would never say no,” said his wife. “He was a really good man, and a brilliant dad to Martin.’’

His sister-in-law, Elizabeth Jones, said Frank had been more subdued than usual the last time she saw him but nothing to cause concern.

“He had been changing his job; he was a bit of a worrier. When we heard he had got a position we were very pleased for him and that he could stop worrying,’’ she said.

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