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Adrian Borland - Health fear led to death (Wimbledon Guardian 15-7-1999)

date: Jul 15, 1999


 

HEALTH FEAR LED TO DEATH

Musician threw himself under a train


A musician who threw himself in front of a train at Wimbledon Station had earlier told his parents he couldn't cope with the threat of returning to a mental hospital. In a letter written a while before his suicide on April 25, accomplished musician and songwriter Adrian Borland, 41, of Hill View Wimbledon, wrote to his parents telling them the threat of a bed at Springfield Hospital hung over him. Mr Borland, who had made a record with punk Dead Kennedy's legend Jello Biafra, suffered from a schizoid-affective disorder, which occasionally made him depressed and paranoid. A jury at Westminster Coroners Court recorded the verdict that Mr Borland killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed, a night of complex events leading up to his death was revealed to the court by his mother Winifred, 65, police officers from Kennington and Wimbledon, eye-witnesses and by doctors' statements. Mrs Borland said her son had returned home the day before his death after visiting his ex-girlfriend and showed signs of distress and paranoia. She said: "His thoughts were coming out loud and at one point he said there's always the railway line". She called 999 but by the time police arrived he had disappeared and was reported as a high risk missing person.

That night Mr Borland turned up at Kennington Police Station claiming he was being chased. Later he rang his mother to say he was in a curry house in Kennington. She alerted police and following a series of phone calls and hold-ups he was eventually dropped off at his mother's home at around 3.15 am by officers who described his state of mind as "lucid". Mrs Borland said: "Everything points to the fact that he needed urgent medical attention. He didn't have to come home to me. But her criticisms of how police handled the night's events were refuted by coroner Dr Paul Knapman, who told the court it was only with the benefit of hindsight that anyone could see how things could be done differently. An application by the family lawyer, Robert Temmink, to add to the verdict a recommendation on how police should handle mental health cases to avoid future tragedies' was rejected by the jury. When asked why she had not called a doctor between 3.15am and 6am when Adrian had taken a bus to Wimbledon Station Mrs Borland - a former English teacher - said her son had insisted he did not want to seek medical treatment until he finished working on his album the following day. Summing up, Dr Knapman told jurors: "The perception is different if you look at it from the point of view of Mrs Borland than if you look at it from the point of view of the police officers. They were concerned about him but they did not think he was desperately unwell or about to commit suicide."

Wimbledon Guardian 15-7-1999

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