South Wales Argus, 28 June 1996
The Child Support Agency (CSA) came under fire from Gwent Coroner David Bowen yesterday, for causing the death of a young father from Chepstow, whose body was found in his fume-filled car. He said notes left by Nigel Ryan, of Wyedean, made it clear that letters from the CSA, and a court appearance due the following week, were the trigger for his actions.
He went on: "For some months prior to his death he had needed psychiatric help, which he refused. That mental condition was in no small part brought about by demands from the CSA."
He recorded a verdict at the Abergavenny inquest that 36-year-old Mr Ryan, who had married just 12 months earlier had killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed.
At the inquest, Mrs Sandra Ryan said her husband, who worked as a steelworker, had needed psychiatric help for six months before his death because he felt everyone was against him and he dreaded going to work.
"I tried to persuade him to go to the doctor but he refused and asked me to go for him and get a sick note, so he did not have to go to work," she said. "He had received a letter from the CSA asking him to appear in court, then another letter adjourned the hearing until the Thursady after his death. I was concerned about the effect this appearance might have on him ... it had been playing on his mind for some time."
She said he left for work on April 19 but she received a phone call from his colleagues later that day to say he had not turned up for work.
Mr Bowen said Ryan's body was found in his fume-filled car in Wentwood Forest the following morning, and he had letters in the vehicle relating to the CSA. After the inquest, Krys Simmonds, press officer for the CSA, said the agency was not asked to give evidence at the inquest, but was fully prepared to do so and believed their evidence may have helped.
"The agency sometime enters people's lives with news which may add to their existing problems. It is a matter of great sadness when anyone takes their own life but we cannot know all the circumstances which may have led to it."