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Pilgrims Hospice worker Graham Hoile, from Canterbury, took his own life after drink-driving arrest

A "truly dedicated" hospice worker who feared he would lose his job after being caught drink-driving took his own life the following day, an inquest heard.

Graham Hoile, 49, posted "that's all folks" on his Facebook page before hanging himself in the garden of his home in Iffin Lane, Canterbury.

He had been arrested the evening before after failing a breathalyser test, sparking fears he would be sacked from his job as a community occupational therapist at the Pilgrims Hospices.

Graham Hoile
Graham Hoile

A hearing at the city's coroner's court was told Mr Hoile had suffered from depression in recent years and was also troubled by the break-up of a long-term relationship with partner Brian Jarvis, who he had been with for 23 years.

He had twice attempted suicide in the past and was on anti-depressants.

Giving evidence at the hearing, Mr Jarvis told assistant coroner James Dillon how Mr Hoile had been drinking red wine on the day of his arrest on December 11 last year.

He said: "I told him he was drinking too much and he left saying, 'think of the good times'."

When another family member called Mr Hoile he told them: "Leave me alone. I’m going to end it."

"So many of the families he worked with told us what a difference his wonderful support and kindness made to them" - Cate Russell, Pilgrims Hospices chief executive

Mr Hoile later updated his Facebook page with posts which could have reflected his state of mind.

Concerned for his welfare and that of the public because Mr Hoile was driving after drinking, a family member called the police. He was stopped in Thanington and failed a roadside breath test. A urine sample taken at the police station had to be sent away to be tested.

Mr Jarvis told the coroner that Mr Hoile had said: "If I lose my licence, I will lose my job."

The following day, Mr Jarvis said Mr Hoile spent most of the day in his room and was very quiet.

He said: "He made a cup of coffee and went out into the garden for a smoke. After about 30 minutes I went out to look for him. It was dark and I found him hanging from a tree at the end of the garden."

The inquest was told that the emergency services were called, and after an investigation police ruled there were no suspicious circumstances.

Given that Mr Hoile died so soon after being in custody, the Independent Police Complaints Commission was called into investigate, but found no wrongdoing.

Concluding his death was a suicide, assistant coroner James Dillon said: "Mr Hoile had concerns that he was going to be found over the limit because that could lead to him losing his job.

The hearing took place at Canterbury Magistrates' Court
The hearing took place at Canterbury Magistrates' Court

"The toxicology result that came in some time later showed he was well over the drink-drive limit and there would have been consequences. But police were quite properly informed because he and the public were at risk.

"In the circumstances, I am satisfied that Mr Hoile took his own life and intended to do so."

Cate Russell, Pilgrims Hospices chief executive, said after the verdict: "It is with great sadness that we learned about the very sad death of Graham.

"He was truly dedicated to his work within our hospice community and so many of the families he worked with told us what a difference his wonderful support and kindness made to them.

"He is greatly missed. Our thoughts and hearts go out to his family, friends and to the people who he worked with."

If you would like confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans free on 116 123.

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