BP vice president killed himself after being made redundant because of Covid-19 crisis, inquest hears

Phoebe Southworth
·2-min read
Nick Spencer - Hyde News & Pictures
Nick Spencer - Hyde News & Pictures

A vice president at British Petroleum (BP) killed himself after being made redundant because of the Covid-19 crisis, an inquest has heard.

Nick Spencer, 61, was found hanging in the garage of his £2 million home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on April 7.

The father of two took his own life a week after he was made redundant from BP, where he had served as vice president of global refining for five years in a decade-long career at the firm.

Mr Spencer was worried he was going to have to remortgage his home, where he lived with his wife, and had become depressed, his inquest in Beaconsfield heard.

Senior coroner Crispin Butler recorded a verdict of suicide. He said Mr Spencer's "depressive illness, loss of work and uncertainty about finances" had contributed to his decision to end his life.  

"Saying goodbye to people he worked with but not in the way in which one hoped because he couldn't have a leaving party, and the physical element of having his IT equipment taken from his home address, had affected him," he added.

Mr Spencer joined BP as a business unit leader in 2009 and spent the following five years at the company's largest US refinery in Whiting, Indiana.

Following his huge success, he was selected as vice president of global refining in 2014, leading 7,500 employees.

Mr Spencer's wife said in a statement to the inquest: "Since he was made redundant he had been depressed. He had been looking for a new job and I felt he seemed positive but there was an oil crisis because of Covid-19 and he was worried about remortgaging the house and the finances."

She said he got up very early on April 7 and she later found a letter from him addressed to her in his study. She called the police, who discovered his body.

Dozens of tributes were paid to Mr Spencer from his former colleagues. He was described as having a "steely resolve" and a great sense of humour.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are worried about someone else, you will find help here:

The Samaritans: Call their 24-hour helpline on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.uk