John just wanted to be happy again’

A MAN who found his brother hanging is blaming the suicide on the anti-depressants he was prescribed. Brian Bradshaw from Stukeley Meadows says his older brother, John, who was a keen athlete – and was once in The Guinness Book of Records for taking part

A MAN who found his brother hanging is blaming the suicide on the anti-depressants he was prescribed.

Brian Bradshaw from Stukeley Meadows says his older brother, John, who was a keen athlete - and was once in The Guinness Book of Records for taking part in the world's longest football match - became depressed when the tablets caused him to pile on the weight and made him sweat "like a fountain".

Mr Bradshaw is also upset that at his brother's inquest a psychiatrist said he had made two previous attempts at suicide.

He said: "He was asked in a meeting if he had ever had suicidal thoughts. He said yes, but this is a different matter from actually attempting suicide. I was very close to my brother and I never expected in a million years that he would commit suicide. When he read in the papers about people taking their lives, he always said how terrible it was for the people left behind. He would not have wished that on us."

John Bradshaw was found hanging at his home in St Peter's Road, Huntingdon, in July last year. His brother had gone to look for him when he failed to arrive for Sunday lunch.

Mr Bradshaw said his brother had become anxious while waiting nine months for a hernia operation at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. He had been signed off work and become depressed.

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"He went to Acer Ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and asked for help, but they would only help him as part of a package. He had to work as a volunteer for Workbridge, and he had to take medication."

Mr Bradshaw, who works for the NHS, said his brother had been put on "a cocktail of drugs" for the last year of his life. These included the anti-depressant Venlafaxine, plus Respiradone. He had also been on Citalapral.

"They made him sweat like a fountain. I would go round to his home in the morning and his sheets would be soaking wet. They also changed his mood. He put on a lot of weight, his clothes did not fit him and couldn't understand it because he wasn't eating any extra.

Workbridge, which employs people on projects such as gardening, does not pay its workers. Instead, it shows them how to claim their benefits.

However, Mr Bradshaw said his brother wanted to earn his money.

"He didn't want what he saw as handouts. He used to ask himself: 'How did I get into this?'

"He looked after our mother for years and then when she died, in 1997, he picked up his life again and he worked for the One Stop Shop in Godmanchester. He couldn't work there with his hernia, but they were keeping the job open for him."

The dead man's sister in law, Julie Bradshaw, said: "He used to ask me how he could lose weight. He needed professional help. He hated how he looked. He was on such a high dosage of drugs that sometimes the pharmacy would not have enough in stock for the prescription. They said it was 'an unusual amount'."

Mrs Bradshaw said her brother-in-law tried desperately to lose weight.

"He cycled every day - he would cycle the 12 miles from Huntingdon to Houghton. He even went on the three-mile Ramsey Fun Run in June. He used to say 'I want to be like I was before'."

John Bradshaw had been a captain of Huntingdon United Football Team.

Mr Bradshaw said: "He took the tablets because he had been told to take them. He used to say to me, 'if you only knew how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning. I'm sure it's the drugs, but they have told me to take them.

"He was a decent and honest person. He did people's gardens and they trusted him. After he died, I had a pile of keys to sort out and return to people."

He added: "This is the problem with the one-size-fits-all approach to medicine. I knew my brother better than anyone. Drugs have different effects on different people. His doctor said he was improving. Well if he was, why didn't they scale down the drugs?"

Mr Bradshaw said he was shocked to the core when he found his brother dead. "I never in a million years expected it. It will haunt me forever. I was on my way to work. I was absolutely distraught. All I hope is that somebody else doesn't go through what we went through. If he hadn't gone to Acer Ward and been put on those drugs, he would have been alive today."

Mrs Bradshaw said: "There comes a point when you take drugs that you can't turn round the damage that has been done. He used to be a man who took pride in himself, he liked to wear smart clothes. People are individuals and people should talk to patients' families. If you listen to the family you can learn a lot about the person that the patient doesn't tell you.

"Nothing can bring him back. He was my husband's only brother. We never have Sunday lunch at the same time now because we find it too sad."

A statement from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership said:

"We would like to extend our sympathies to John Bradshaw's family and friends.

"In line with NHS and Trust policy, the Trust has undertaken a serious investigation which reviewed all aspects of Mr Bradshaw's care and treatment.

"We have met Mr Bradshaw's family to discuss his care and treatment and are aware of their concerns. However, we agree with the view of the coroner, who said at the inquest on February 16 that he was satisfied that Mr Bradshaw was receiving the right treatment and that this medication was appropriate."

"We would be happy to clarify any other concerns his family may have and will contact them to see if they would like to meet with us again.

"We are not able to comment on any other aspect of Mr Bradshaw's care and treatment as these are confidential health care records.