After Phillip Huntley’s body was eventually discovered by a colleague, the Asda supermarket in Bodmin, Cornwall, was evacuated and had to close for one day as police investigated
An Asda worker discovered dead in the supermarket he worked in had been there for three days, an inquest heard.
When the body of Phillip Huntley was found by a colleague, police were called to the shop, and it had to evacuate customers and close for one day. Police confirmed at the time the 55-year-old man’s passing was not being treated as suspicious. Now, a coroner has ruled Mr Huntley intended to take his own life and filed a conclusion of death by suicide. She was told how the dad of one was awaiting an appointment to address depression and anxiety at the time of his death.
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help.
Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected] in confidence
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill
PAPYRUS: For teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: The charity offers useful resources for people struggling.
Students Against Depression: For students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): Phone 0800 58 58 58. For young men who are feeling unhappy.
For information on your local NHS urgent mental health helpline, visit here
Emma Hillson, assistant coroner for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, was informed how Mr Huntley was “let down” by cutbacks in mental health services and “could not believe” the wait time was within the target.
Phillip’s father Huw Huntley told the inquest he felt his son should have been deemed high risk by doctors and felt GPs were not able to determine how at risk patients were on the basis of a phone call.
Mr Huntley, who worked at the Asda in Bodmin, Cornwall, for 17 years, was discovered at the supermarket on May 4, reports Plymouth Live. He had last clocked in for work on the Monday, May 1, three days before he was found dead, and this was the last time he was seen on CCTV footage. Colleagues reported him having left early on that day which prompted Mr Huntley’s line manager to make a welfare call but there was no answer.
Further concerns were raised when Mr Huntley did not show up for work the following morning Tuesday, May 2. An employee went to his house to see if he was okay but he was not there.
The following two days were Mr Huntley’s days off. His body was discovered by a shaken colleague in the staff wellness room, that was rarely used, on Thursday May 2.
The inquest heard how Mr Huntley had been signed off work with depression twice in the six months leading up to his death – once at the end of 2022 and again in March. He had a 25-year history of mental health issues and had been diagnosed with depression since 2007.
The dad of one had self-referred for help on a number of occasions between 2007 and 2023. More recently he had reported having “severe” depression, anxiety and signs of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) to his GP alongside suicidal thoughts. During a phone call in which this referral was triaged, he asked for “intensive help”.
At the time of his death he was not deemed a high risk patient and was waiting assessment with NHS talking therapies at his request. He had self-referred on March 1 and his appointment for June 3 (three months later) was deemed within target wait times for the service.
He was encouraged to engage with other services such as Man Down or Mind in the meantime. He also consented to being referred to wellbeing coaches to support him and they attempted to contact him on two occasions but did not get a response.
Ms Hillson said: “This is on the basis of his long and documented history of depression and anxiety for which he had sought assistance and was awaiting an appointment.”
The Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, email [email protected] or head to the website to find your nearest branch. You matter.