‘Covid-19 got me’ – Heartbreaking suicide note financial adviser, 55, left his family before drowning himself

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A financial adviser who drowned himself after lockdown destroyed his business of 30 years left a heartbreaking note to his family saying ‘Covid-19 got me’.

Nick Gunnell was described as a ‘hidden victim’ of the virus after he killed himself in the River Ouse in York, an inquest at The Old Courtroom in Northallerton was told.

The 55-year-old left a note for loved ones on June 30 expressing his regret and apologising, without saying what he planned to do, assistant coroner John Broadbridge said.

It included the words ‘Covid-19 got me’.

The coronavirus lockdown had caused his financial advice business problems and he had been suffering from anxiety and sleeping problems, the coroner said reading evidence.

A father to a grown-up daughter and stepdaughter, he was last seen on CCTV going down to the riverside by Scarborough Bridge, near York city centre, shortly after 1pm on June 30.

After a six-day police and public search, a kayaker found his body in the river 150 metres upstream from the bridge.

A post mortem concluded Mr Gunnell, from Holgate Road, York, had drowned, and Mr Broadbridge recorded a finding of suicide.

The inquest heard that before coronavirus, Mr Gunnell had told his wife, Jayne, that 2020 was going to be ‘their year’.

He was preparing to sell his business and they were planning a tour of the Greek islands.

But coronavirus travel restrictions meant the holiday didn’t go ahead, the lockdown hit his business and the deal fell through, the coroner said.

Evidence read to the inquest said Mr Gunnell had drunk alcohol and taken medicine before he died and CCTV at York Station showed that he was slightly unsteady on his feet.

He had talked with his doctor the day before his death and been prescribed medicine for anxiety and sleeping problems.

The doctor’s notes said he did not sound suicidal, the inquest heard.

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