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'Sporty' and 'kind' 25-year-old killed himself in Wargrave woods, coroner finds

A coroner has concluded a 25-year-old man from Wargrave, whose body was found in woodland, killed himself.

Andrew Southworth, who struggled with bipolar disorder and severe obsessive compulsive disorder, hanged himself in Bowsey wood, Wargrave, on June 19.

At an inquest on Tuesday, Reading Coroner’s Court heard how Andrew’s GP had referred him for assessment by a psychiatrist in May, but no assessment took place within the 14-day set period.

Fifteen days later, and with an assessment still yet to take place, Andrew’s body was found.

He is survived by his mother Trisha, father Kevin and younger brother and best friend David.

A tribute from Andrew’s family was read out by assistant coroner Ian Wade QC at the hearing.

It said: ”Andrew was kind, quiet natured and very well-liked by everyone who knew him.

“He has many friends both from his schooldays in Wargrave, from university in Southampton and from his time at Delta Force Paintball throughout Berkshire where he was a senior marshall for many years.

“He was very sporty – enjoyed badminton, skiing, climbing and completed an outdoor sports instructor training course in Aviemore, Scotland.

“He was also an avid Xbox games enthusiast and well known in the live gaming community.

“We are all devastated and heart-broken and will love and miss him forever.”

At the hearing Andrew’s GP, Dr James Kennedy, described how Andrew’s mental state moved in ‘cycles’, where he would spend a few weeks in ‘euphoria’ before slumping into bouts of deep depression.

He said: “He was very concerned about the future and the effect that his mental illness was having on his life and potential future.”

In their last meeting, on May 20, Andrew told Dr Kennedy he was having thoughts of self-harm and suicide but did not want to act on them.

Dr Kennedy then issued Andrew with an amber referral to the Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust’s mental health services.

After an amber referral, a psychiatrist assessment is supposed to take place within 14 days.

According to the coroner, Andrew was not seen by a psychiatrist in that time, or for another 15 days after that.

On June 19 Andrew was found dead. Police had issued an appeal for the public’s help in finding Andrew when he went missing.

A statement from the health trust said the delay was due to ‘vacancies and retirements’.

Mr Wade said: “That’s a matter of great concern.

“I can’t change history, though there’s some hope that the lessons will be learned.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this story, the Samaritans can offer 24-hour support.

Call 116 123.

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