‘Happy, mindful and proud’ dad took his own life – Plymouth Live
Lee, who lived in Mutley, was reported missing by his family on Wednesday 9 December 2020
A Plymouth dad who battled depression for years took his own life, an inquest has ruled. Lee Symons was found in a wooded area of a city park in December 2020.
An inquest into his death held on August 24 at Plymouth Coroner's Court heard how the pipe fitter suffered emotionally and mentally and, despite seeking help and taking antidepressants, took his own life. The 36-year-old was found on December 10, in Trefusis Park.
Lee, who lived in Mutley, was reported missing by his family the day before his death, following an argument. Due to his history of depression and several previous suicide attempts, police marked Lee as a ‘high risk’ missing person.
Family and friends assisted in the search for Lee along with mobile phone and vehicle tracking. The next morning police found his work van parked on Compton Vale and searched the nearby park where they found Lee in a 'wooded area'. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police civilian investigator Phil Trevains told the inquest Lee faced a number of issues, including financial issues, access to his children, and a "volatile relationship" with his ex-partner. Mr Trevains confirmed there was no foul play or third-party involvement.
Reading a statement from Lee’s family, Mr Trevains said that Lee was a “happy, mindful and proud” man who worked extremely hard in his job to work his way up.
Senior Coroner Ian Arrow read out a statement from Paul Malcolm, a pathologist at Derriford Hospital, which gave a medical cause of death as asphyxia and suspension by ligature.
The inquest heard evidence gathered from a number of witnesses, including Lee's GP, Dr Ahmed Risk. In his report he highlighted how Lee suffered with depression and suicidal ideation and had attempted suicide three times in the five months leading up to his death.
Lee was prescribed medication to tackle his depression and toxicology reports show he was taking this correctly when he died. He had also previously received support from a psychiatrist and had been “coping well” and was “keen to return to work”.
Not long after his death, Lee’s friend Adam Rickard set up a fundraiser for Lee’s two children, which raised over £5,000, saying he wanted to help "bring some sort of light to a very end of a sad year" to Lee's family, as well as raising awareness around men's mental health.
Talking to PlymouthLive, he told how Lee was a "great dad to his kids" and was a "great local goalkeeper in his day", being an avid Liverpool and Argyle supporter. Adam added: "Lee was a plumber very very good at his job, to the fact you could call him a master tradesman.
"He was loved on every site he worked on in and around the Plymouth area. Lee was a very kind loving person, he loved to love.
"He had the biggest of hearts and was always making sure everyone was ok."
If you need to talk to someone you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or at samaritans.org.
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