'Lesson to be learned from dad's death'

The daughter of a former councillor who hanged himself says she feels he was let down by mental health services.

Ellen Fishwick discovered the body of her father, George Calvert, on April 9 last year, at his home on Chapel Hill Road, Peterlee.

A former Peterlee town councillor, the 75-year-old ex-Sunderland shipyard welder had been suffering from anxiety and depression since the death of his wife, Mary, in 2004.

Speaking at the inquest into her father's death, Mrs Fishwick, said: "Some people slip through the net and unfortunately I think that's what happened to my dad.

"You can't fill in a form and think that it suits everybody. There's no point pursuing this, but I hope that a lesson is learned from it."

The 42-year-old said her dad had been in a downward spiral since his wife died, but had recognised the problem and sought help.

She said: "He went to his doctor and he was referred to a mental health team. He was given a support worker who took him out once a week, but it wasn't enough for him.

"He even booked himself into a psychiatric unit. He wanted to go to hospital for them to put it right.

"But he didn't seem to fit the criteria for help, he needed more intensive care."

The inquest at Chester-le-Street Magistrates' Court heard Mr Calvert, who represented Howletch ward for five years, had previously attempted to take his own life.

After hearing evidence about the circumstances of Mr Calvert's death, Coroner Andrew Tweddle told Mrs Fishwick: "It's clear that your father intended to take his own life. There isn't a nice way of saying that I'm afraid, it's the inevitable conclusion that I must come to."

Mr Calvert was born in Sunderland in 1931. He moved to Peterlee and became well-known for his sense of humour and his days singing on the region's club circuit.

As well as Ellen he had two other children, Keith Calvert and Christine Sloan.

He also leaves six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

A spokesman for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust, said: "We understand how difficult this must be and we would like to extend our sincerest sympathy to Mrs Fishwick and her family.

"We have carried out our own internal review into Mr Calvert's death, as part of our standard procedures, and we would encourage Mrs Fishwick to get in touch so that we can discuss her concerns."