A popular teaching assistant took his own life after becoming depressed following the breakdown of his marriage, an inquest heard.

Chris Greaves, who had five children, was found dead at home in Birch View on Greystones Drive in Darlington on July 7 last year.

Concerns for his welfare had been raised by his son who was trying to get in touch with him.

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The Northern Echo: Chris was a popular with staff and pupils at Branksome Academy Chris was a popular with staff and pupils at Branksome Academy (Image: Contributor)

Chris, 47, who was well-liked by pupils and staff, taught maths to children with special educational needs at Wyvern Academy in Branksome where he had worked since 2009.

An inquest at Crook Coroners’ Court heard his mental health declined following the breakdown of the relationship with his ex-wife.

The inquest was told he had a history of depression and low mood had previously attempted suicide twice before his death.

Community matron Amanda Bramley gave the hearing an overview of the care Chris received.

She said records show he had ‘fluctuating suicidal thoughts in the context of acute emotional dysregulation on the background of relationship difficulties with his ex-wife’.

The court heard he was treated by mental health nurses at Lanchester Road Hospital near Durham but was discharged on June 20 following a suicide attempt.

Ms Bramley said: “The clinician felt that we could offer an ongoing level of support that would or could maintain Chris’s safety at that point.

“Following the consultation it was felt that Chris’s distress had diminished and he was happy to continue to engage with the community plan.

“All options were considered with a review that would be ongoing so if things did change then we can always revisit those options and involve all the crisis services or consider hospital admission.”

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The court was told he made a further attempt on his life on July 3, days before he died, and had attended Darlington Memorial Hospital on July 4.

The inquest was told he requested help and wanted to be admitted but was sent home.

In a statement read to the inquest Dr Nadana de Silva, an emergency consultant at the hospital said: “His physical examination was normal.

“He was reviewed by the liaison psychiatry team. He disclosed to them he had relationship difficulties and that he had taken an overdose with the expectation that he would get further hospital admission.

“Following liaison team assessment he was deemed fit for discharge with a plan to follow up with the community psychiatric team.”

Chris was found dead on July 7.

The front door of his property was forced and his body was found in his bedroom with a note written in felt tip pen left in the living room.

A statement from PC Jason Tenant who attended the scene said there were no suspicious circumstances and police were satisfied there was no third-party involvement.

The Northern Echo: Chris's funeral was held at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in CockertonChris's funeral was held at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Cockerton (Image: Contributor)

Assistant coroner for County Durham Janine Richards recorded a verdict of death by ‘suicide’.

She said: “I'm satisfied that Chris took his own life. The second, and more thorny issue, is whether he intended to do so and, in this case, I've considered his history of mental health difficulties and the previous incidents of self-harm.

“I've also considered the messages that he sent to his children and to his loved ones, including his ex-wife, that message effectively saying ‘goodbye’ to her.

“I'm entirely satisfied that the correct conclusion that I should record in this case is one of suicide.”

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The coroner said the evidence did not suggest that a different form of medical treatment or care would necessarily have led to a different outcome for Chris.

Addressing his family, who were present in court, the coroner said: “I'm so very sorry for your loss.

“This is a really difficult process. I can see from all of the evidence how you all tried to support Chris with the difficulties, so I just wanted to express my sincere condolences.”


If you are in need of support you can contact the following:

- Samaritans is available, day or night, 365 days of the year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

- If U Care Share on 0191 387 5661 or text IUCS to 85258

- SANE on 07984 967 708, Calm on 0800 58 58 58

- Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust crisis line 0800 0516 171.