Dad breaks down at Portsmouth inquest after recounting efforts to save son who he found hanged

A DAD broke down and wept as he recalled the moment he battled to save his son’s life after he was found hanging.

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 6:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 6:36 pm
The Coroner's Court - in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth
Picture: Malcolm Wells (180405-3355)
The Coroner's Court - in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth Picture: Malcolm Wells (180405-3355)

Tormented George Twiddy phoned his parents to tell them he was about to take his own life after hearing deafening voices in his head, Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard.

The 23-year-old, whose mental health took a nosedive after he started smoking cannabis, thought he was living in a ‘fantasy’ world where he was being watched ‘like in the film The Truman Show’.

Now the family wants answers after saying his life could have been saved if mental health services had ‘taken seriously’ concerns as George’s behaviour became increasingly erratic.

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As ‘kind’ and ‘truly loved’ George plunged into the depths of despair – with his parents ‘running out of answers’ – they got the call they were fearing.

George’s dad, Alan, told the inquest how he found his son in Warren Copse, Petersfield, after receiving a call one afternoon in February 2017.

‘George found home and asked “what was going on?”. I said nothing was going on. He said, “if you don’t tell me I will hang myself.” He thought he was in a show like the film The Truman Show where everyone knows what’s going on but him,’ he said.

‘I went to my van and drove round to the woods and asked people I saw walking if they had seen a stressed man. I heard voices in the distance and followed them where I went up a slope to a ridge.

‘I then turned and saw George I started giving him CPR and phoned 999. I couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not, though I thought he was.’

Ambulance and police arrived and continued treating Mr Twiddy before he was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital where efforts to save his life continued.

Despite still having a pulse the inquest heard how he had suffered a ‘catastrophic brain injury’ following a cardiac arrest brought on by the hanging. His family were told he would not survive and he died a day later.

The inquest was told George’s mental health deteriorated after he started smoking cannabis – with spring 2015 the first warning sign of his increasingly ‘volatile’ behaviour. He was forced to abandon his work as an estate agent after his health issues became so serious.

Over the next two years, George was sectioned on one occasion and attended outpatient appointments with Southern Health’s early mental health intervention and crisis teams.

But despite repeated calls and urgent requests for him to be assessed, it was decided it was best for George to be treated at home, while continuing to take his anti-psychotic drugs.

Mr Twiddy said: ‘The mental health services just didn’t take us seriously. They didn’t think this would happen. But it has. That’s why we are here (at the inquest).’

Mum Susan Twiddy spoke of her ‘sensitive’ and ‘kind’ son who was popular and would help others – resulting in him being labelled ‘Gorgeous George’.

‘George had a wide and ever-increasing circle of friends and was someone who would help others whether young or old. When he used to work in a shop he would try on cardigans for old ladies to help them.’

Mrs Twiddy told the inquest the family decided to donate George’s organs after it became clear he would not survive. ‘George’s organs went on to change the lives of four other people,’ she said.