'Winter blues' man plunged to his death

BY SOPHIE HAZAN A SUFFERER of the 'winter blues' – a depression caused by lack of sunlight – jumped from a block of flats to end his own life.

Derek Seed, 47, of Holmwood Avenue in Meanwood, Leeds, had been battling seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and psychological problems for 10 years, a Leeds inquest heard.

Medication and a recent change of job had seemed to lift the married man's spirits, Coroner David Hinchliff told the court.

But a sudden relapse was too much for Mr Seed who threw himself from the fifth floor of Carlton Towers in Little London, Leeds, he added.

Coroner's Officer Anthony Thornton read out a statement from witness Leeds City Council worker Neville Dillon: "My wife said to me somebody has fallen from that block of flats, I then heard a thud. I ran quickly and saw a man on the floor. I couldn't see any sign of life."

Mr Seed was taken to Leeds General Infirmary and pronounced dead at 9.19am on April 13.

A post-mortem examination by consultant forensic pathologist Susan Claydon revealed he had died of multiple injuries consistent with a fall.

Despite a history of mental illness, his death had been a shock to Mr Seed's wife Deborah Jane.

She told Mr Hinchliff: "I knew David had suicidal thoughts, very occasionally, but never expected him to take his own life."


Coroner Mr Hinchliff, who recorded a verdict of suicide, said to Mrs Seed: "We believe that because of circumstantial evidence it probably was a fall from the fifth floor.

"He sustained significant multiple injuries and, consistent with your husband's history of intermittent depression and psychological problems, I think he must have relapsed and suffered from an immediate bout of depression and I can record a formal verdict of him taking his own life."

The court heard how Mr Seed, who took a job as a gas meter reader with Birstall-based company Meter Plus in January of this year, had been using St John's Wort and a light box to tackle his condition.