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Inquest is adjourned

PUBLISHED: 18:20 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:10 12 August 2010

A CORONER adjourned an inquest after he was told that a statement recording the last words of a 79-year-old man before he fell 60ft to his death had gone missing. Croydon Coroner Dr Roy Palmer said last Thursday that the report could settle the issue as

A CORONER adjourned an inquest after he was told that a statement recording the last words of a 79-year-old man before he fell 60ft to his death had gone missing.

Croydon Coroner Dr Roy Palmer said last Thursday that the report could settle the issue as to whether Derrick Hill, of Holmcroft Way, Bromley, had committed suicide.

Police community support officers (PCSO's) had spoken of efforts to save Mr Hill, a retired chauffeur, who had been sitting on a ledge on the top level of a multi-storey car park near Marks and Spencer in Orpington High Street.

However, before they could reach him, he released his grip and crashed to the ground.

Former PCSO Alex Theophous, now a British Transport police constable, said: "In my mind he was going to jump.

"I thought we could get behind him and pull him from the ledge.

"As we got closer, my radio went off. He turned around and looked at me. We must have been a foot away from him and he let go."

PCSO Danny Shipston recalled seeing a young man talking to Mr Hill as he was lowering himself over the ledge.

An air ambulance was called in but Mr Hill died from a mass of injuries.

A doctor's report from the Southborough Lane health practice said Mr Hill had been suffering from depression, with impaired concentration and loss of energy.

The inquest heard that Mr Hill had said something to the young man who had apparently passed his words on to the police, and Dr Palmer decided to put the hearing back to another date for this statement to be handed in.

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