'Super head' with alcohol problem killed himself amid fears he would lose his job, inquest hears

Telegraph Reporters
Gary Vyse was considered a leading light in his role running six academy schools - SWNS

A "super head" with an alcohol problem killed himself amid fears he would be suspended from his job, an inquest has heard.

Gary Vyse - considered a leading light in his role running six academies as chief executive of The Williamson Trust in Medway, Kent, and head of the Hundred Hoo Academy - took his own life.

An inquest heard the 37-year-old headteacher, who was found hanged at his home on February 12, had suffered problems at work, with his relationship and also "heavy drinking".

Mr Vyse had previously told a doctor he was "drinking a bottle of wine a night, was feeling low and was self-harming", the coroner was told.

At a resumed inquest, assistant coroner Katrina Hepburn heard was discovered dead by his friend, Michaela Bartlett, at his home in Rochester, Kent.

Detective Sergeant Debra Cummings told the coroner on the day of his death, Mr Vyse sent "messages of an emotional nature" to Ms Bartlett, who was described in the inquest as Mr Vyse's girlfriend - but this was disputed by a family member at the inquest.

He said the 'world wanted him to fail' and he was worried about being a 'burden'

Det Sgt Debra Cummings

She told the hearing: "One of the messages stated he was feeling anxious and sad, was not enjoying his job and felt people wanted him to fail."

He also told her he feared he was about to be suspended from work and was due to meet bosses at the Trust over a possible disciplinary matter, the inquest heard.

No suicide note was found, but three packets of a drug used to treat depression, were discovered. The coroner asked the officer about the "tone" of the messages Mr Vyse sent Ms Bartlett before his death.

Det Sgt Cummings said: "The overriding tone was that Mr Vyse was feeling fairly depressed, some of the messages were not clear, but they were emotional. In one he said the 'world wanted him to fail' and he was worried about being a 'burden'."

He also made comments saying "what will be will be" and "I will love you with my last breath", she said, adding: "They gave the impression he was saying goodbye."

The coroner read out a report from Mr Vyse's GP, Dr Murphy, who confirmed he had been prescribed medication for depression.

His first contact with him was in 2016 when Mr Vyse told his GP he was "stressed at work, not sleeping and wanted to go on anti-depressants".

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At a later appointment on October 26 2017, Mr Vyse told Dr Murphy he was drinking a bottle of wine a night, was feeling low, was self-harming but would not consider suicide because of his two young children.

Then on November 9 2017, he told the doctor he was "feeling much better". Dr Murphy last had contact with Mr Vyse on November 2017 when Mr Vyse wanted to rebook an appointment.

The cause of death was given as suspension. A toxicologist report showed Mr Vyse had 247 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood in his system - which is three times the legal drink-drive limit.

Ms Hepburn told the inquest in Maidstone, Kent: "In December 2017 Mr Vyse stayed with his parents for a period of time and references having problems with work, relationship problems and also heavy drinking."

Numbers to call

She ruled a conclusion of suicide and gave condolences to the family. Mr Vyse hit the headlines in 2016 when he criticised parents for allowing pupils at the Hundred of Hoo Academy to wear fake tan, heavy lipstick and foundation.

The headteacher told parents and pupils "school is not a fashion parade".