Pictured: Christopher Neile with his sister Marie Page
A tinnitus sufferer became so frustrated by his debilitating condition he killed himself while waiting to go to Dignitas in Switzerland.
Christopher Neile, 57, was planning on travelling to the Swiss assisted suicide clinic because the illness left him with a constant ringing noise in his ear which left him unable to work or sleep.
But heartbreakingly the electrical engineer decided he couldn’t wait – and took his own life, leaving behind a suicide note simply reading: ‘The noise got too loud, sorry.’
His sister Marie Page, said he was devastated after he split up with his wife nine years ago but said that when the tinnitus started it ‘consumed him..’
‘He was going off to America for Christmas and we were at that time, having a look at tinnitus, learning about it and things like that,’ she said.
‘He came back in January and he was just broken. It was all sorts of different sounds and then he would find things.
‘He would blow into a tube into his ear which would give him temporary relief.’
One day Ms Page arrived at his house to find he had hung a ligature in the kitchen but he was on the floor dazed and with a head injury.
Mr Neile could not remember what had happened but his sister believed he had hurt himself before actually attempting suicide and afterwards they talked of travelling to Europe for help.
Christopher Neile, 57, was planning on travelling to the Swiss assisted suicide clinic because the illness left him with a constant ringing noise in his ear which left him unable to work or sleep
‘We were going to look into Dignitas in Switzerland,’ she told an inquest in Winchester, Hants.
‘He said ‘it will take too long’ and I said ‘no it won’t sweetheart’ we’ll do it’.
‘We had our conversations about looking after the girls after he’d gone, to put things in place through the solicitor.’
Before Mr Neile decided he could not wait for assisted suicide, he spent the day with his sister.
‘We just went to spend the day together at the park,’ she said, fighting back tears.
‘He said ‘this is what it would be like to be in Switzerland isn’t it’.’
After he went home with her on April 30 he told her he wanted her to come back the next day.
‘He wanted me to go back by myself, which I did. He made me promise it would just be me.’
When they tried to get hold of him the next day there was no answer.
‘The kitchen door was shut which it never normally was. I took a huge deep breath and opened the door.
‘The ligature was in the same place. Chris was there and I just closed the door and went back down the pathway and pretended none of it was real.
‘I went back to check, I had to be sure he was dead before I called anyone.’
Paramedics and police officers rushed to the scene in James Weld Close, Southampton, Hants., but it was too late to save his life and a post-mortem examination found the cause of death was hanging.
A search of the kitchen revealed his suicide note and a letter from his solicitor about his will.
In his conclusions Senior Coroner for Mid-Hampshire, Grahame Short, said: ‘Tinnitus is always a distressing condition but I find in Chris’ case he had constant intrusive sounds that affected his whole life.
‘They prevented him working and made his sleep difficult. I find his tinnitus must have exacerbated his depression.
‘Chris was found hanging in his home, I am satisfied this was self-inflicted.
‘Preparations were made in similar circumstances and he fell suffering a head injury.
‘He believed that this condition is incurable, therefore I’m sure he chose to end his life on this occasion and believed it was the only way to stop the sounds in his head.
‘For people who haven’t had to suffer from tinnitus I suspect it’s hard to appreciate how it can take over a whole life.’
The coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.