Norwich doctor took own life with medicine overdose

Barry Robinson

Barry Robinson - Credit: Archant

A doctor who took a fatal overdose of medication had changed a patient's prescription to obtain it, an inquest heard.

Barry Robinson, a GP at Lakenham Surgery, was found dead in a car at Pretty Corner in Sheringham on September 24 last year.

He was described as a 'trustworthy and reliable' doctor, who had three children and two step-children.

An inquest in Norwich yesterday heard how the 58-year-old, from Church Road, Mutford, Beccles, showed no signs that he intended to take his own life.

But on September 22 he was found to have used a patient's prescription he had changed to acquire medication from a store in Norwich.

The practice manager at Lakenham Surgery, Timothy Dennis, said: 'We discovered sometime afterwards that he changed the [patient's] prescription.

'I don't think there is anything evident from the medical records that would lead him to do that for that particular patient.'

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Giving evidence, his colleague Dr Ian Phipp said Dr Robinson would have been aware of the risks of taking such a large quantity.

He was last seen by Dr Phipp leaving work on September 22, who added there had been nothing unusual about his behaviour.

Dr Robinson's body was then found two days later in the corner of a car park by two members of the public. The patient's prescription medication was also discovered in the vehicle's footwell by police.

A pathologist gave the medical cause of death as a 'fatal' overdose.

The inquest heard that Dr Robinson had previously overdosed on medication in 2005.

And while he was said to have had some issues around alcohol consumption, the inquest heard he had been in control of his life.

In a statement, his wife, Theresa Robinson, said: 'He was stressed at times, but no more than most GPs who cared about the service they provide.

'Were Barry unhappy with his life, he had the means to change it if he wished to do so.

'There was no note or reason for him to take his own life.'

He had been a keen skydiver and also took part in a variety of other sports.

Dr Robinson's GP, Dr Collins, said there was a 'very high' suicide rate among doctors, adding he had lost three colleagues because of it.

Giving a conclusion of suicide, assistant coroner Nicholas Holroyd said Dr Robinson was a clever and competent doctor, who would have known the outcome of taking the medication.

'We will never know what it was that caused Dr Robinson to take this tragic course of events,' he said. 'But something did and I am satisfied he intended to take his life.'

In a statement, his family said: 'Barry was a much loved husband, father, step-father, grandfather, brother and friend. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us during this very tragic time.'

Need to talk? Call the Samaritans on 116 123.

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