Company director, 44, killed himself with toxic fumes after learning he had hereditary disease and telling dad ‘I’ll never be in a wheelchair’

Company director, 44, killed himself with toxic fumes after learning he had hereditary disease and telling dad ‘I’ll never be in a wheelchair’

- in Uk News

A COMPANY director killed himself with toxic fumes because he had a hereditary disease similar to multiple sclerosis and said he would “never let himself be in a wheelchair”.

Robin Lonsdale, 44, from Accrington, was diagnosed with the illness in 2017 and his condition then quickly deteriorated.

Robin Lonsdale, 44, took his own life after he feared being confined to a wheelchair when he was diagnosed with a hereditary illness
Cavendish Press

He began having problems walking and had an accident where he badly damaged his leg which required surgery.

He then went through “a very traumatic procedure” in hospital to try and extend the leg to make it easier to walk.

Mr Lonsdale, who ran a chemicals firm in Salford, later broke his left shoulder in a fall.

His dad, Peter, 70, told an inquest his son then tried to throw himself into his work but was under a lot of pressure.

He said: “It had been a problem that began in 2017 but had been getting worse and he found out he had a hereditary disease similar to MS and knew would not get any better.

“He knew he would at some stage be in a wheelchair but he was determined. He would say: ‘That will never happen – will never be in a wheelchair.’”

He went on: “Last time I spoke to him around December 7, he seemed to be fine. Things weren’t too bad and he wasn’t down at all – he never once expressed suicidal thoughts.

“He was picking up but Robin could go from a high to a low in an instant. He had a lot of pressure and his medical condition was getting a lot worse.”


However, five days later, Mr Lonsdale poisoned himself with toxic fumes in his van.

Tests showed he suffered significant carbon monoxide poisoning.

Following the discovery of his body police spoke to his tenant Leah Alcock who said he had previously asked her: “If I give you £1,000 get me enough Diazepam to do me in.”

Dr Siobhan Brennan, from Ordsall health surgery in Salford, told the inquest: “Robin was finding he was increasingly tearful.

“He was managing director of his own business and had a hereditary condition and prone to falls.

“He loved his job and generally enjoyed life but hadn’t had much leisure time. He said he had no thoughts of self harm.”

Coroner Claire Welch recorded a conclusion of suicide.

She said: “Robin had no previous history of having suicidal thoughts or suicidal attempts.

“Although he had been having pressure and difficulties in business to some degree, he seemed to be on the up and improving.

“But I note the problems he had with his decreasing mobility. He knew it was going to keep getting worse and that he had at some point 18 months prior to his death said it would never ‘get to that’ – never let himself be in a wheelchair.

“Although it was quite some time ago it does relay his mindset and that approach to his physical condition. He wasn’t going to let it take control of him that he was going to take control of it.

“Leah Allcock also reported that Robin had said to her: ‘If I give you £1,000 will you get enough Diazepam to do me in?’ It’s suggestive of planning and intention of wanting to ensure that he had steps that had to end his life.

“According to his father’s statement, Robin’s medical condition and business condition had all just got too much for him.

“It is clear that you where a very close family inevitable given the circumstances that his death is horrifically hard for you to come to terms with. My heart generally goes out to all of you.”

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