The tragic life of a leading businessman

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A Whitby businessman took his own life following the breakdown of his marriage.

Edward Astin was found dead in the garage of his Checkers home in Spital Bridge on June 2 by his first wife, Judith.

After hearing how the collapse of his second marriage to Elizabeth Astin had contributed to Mr Astin’s depression, assistant coroner John Broadbridge ruled that Mr Astin had taken his own life.

Speaking at the inquest, Mr Astin’s mother, Barbara, said the last words her son ever said to her related to his relationship with his second wife. She said Elizabeth had told Mr Astin: “I don’t love you, I never have.”

Prior to his death, Mr Astin had been attending appointments with a mental health professional and it was suggested by Mr Astin’s brother, Martyn, that this final rejection may have been “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

A successful businessman within Whitby, Mr Astin’s ‘invincible’ nature had been shattered by injuries sustained in a car accident, as well as business concerns and grief over the loss of his father earlier this year.

Well-known in Whitby, Mr Astin feared public embarrassment over his situation.

However, behind closed doors, Mr Astin was suffering from depression and had been prescribed medication in an attempt to deal with this.

In her initial police statement, Elizabeth, who did not attend the inquest, said that at New Year she had discovered Mr Astin hanging in the garage. She was able to take his weight and was at that time able to save his life.

From that point on, the couple had made efforts to save the marriage but Mr Astin’s depression had caused increasingly erratic behaviour, including one incident where he attempted to get arrested by running out into the street naked.

As a result of the marriage breakdown, his wife had recently moved out of their home.

Police who responded to the scene found a note from Mr Astin on the kitchen table.