Drowning tragedy of academic

A RETIRED Sheffield University law professor drowned himself in a reservoir in Derbyshire after weighing down his pockets with rocks, an inquest heard.

The body of Derek Morgan, aged 57, was found at the edge of Ladybower Reservoir on July 10 by a walker.

The hearing heard that Mr Morgan had filled his pockets with stones and fastened a belt around his wrists to prevent him saving himself.

The former lecturer spent three years in Australia following the end of a 25-year relationship with Celia Wells, also a university professor.

Ms Wells told police that his drinking affected their relationship and he was generally not a happy person.

Mr Morgan returned to Sheffield in 2008 and his depression led to him being admitted to a psychiatric unit in the city, which he left in June.

He then stayed for a time in Northumberland where he was admitted to hospital following an apparent overdose of temazepam.

A mental health crisis team in that district assessed him and discharged him on July 2, believing he was a low risk of suicide.

They informed mental health services in Sheffield that Mr Morgan would be returning to his apartment home in Westbourne Road, Broomhill.

A city mental health worker made a follow-up visit to his address on July 5 but got no response. Police were alerted and he was classed as a missing person.

Ms Wells had also contacted police that day, saying she had received a card and a letter from him, including his bank details, by post. He wrote that he was emotionally and physically “spent” and with little money remaining.

Pathologist Dr Donesh Taraaporewalla gave the cause of death as drowning.

The Chesterfield inquest heard that teeth marks were found on the belt where it had been fastened.

Deputy North Derbyshire Coroner Nigel Anderson recorded a verdict that Mr Morgan took his own life.

“The help given to him in Sheffield was quite correct but in Northumberland – in circumstances that seemed to me to indicate he was likely to take his own life – he was only considered to be a low risk.

“His family don’t wish me to take this any further and, even if he had been put in the high-risk category, it may be that little could have been done,” said the coroner.