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Father Robert Keywood died after jumping from Medway Council car park at Pentagon shopping centre, inquest heard

Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham. Picture John Sturrock
Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham. Picture John Sturrock

A father took his own life by jumping from the top of the multi-storey car park at the Pentagon shopping centre, an inquest heard.

Robert Keywood, 57, died at the Medway Council car park by the Chatham shopping centre in Solomon Road on the morning of November 23 last year.

A note left on the passenger seat of his car read: “You’re better off without me, love Bob.”

The hearing was told Mr Keywood, who was from Hempstead and had two daughters, was director of human resources at Kimberley Clark.

He had been prescribed sleeping tablets and anti-depressants in the weeks leading up to his death. He had travelled to Poland and America on business and was having trouble sleeping.

At an appointment on the morning of his death he was diagnosed as having moderate to severe depression and filled out forms to receive counselling.

He denied having suicidal thoughts to his doctor, the inquest was told.

Ann, his wife of almost 30 years, told the inquest her husband had acted “agitated” and “out of character” on a number of occasions before he died.

On November 21, their boiler stopped working. The inquest heard an engineer would only come out to fix it if there was a medical emergency, so Mr Keywood told them he was depressed.

Mrs Keywood said: “He’d never said anything about it [depression] before. But even then he said it like it was an excuse to get them out.”

Deputy assistant coroner Alison Summers recorded a verdict of suicide.

Addressing the family, she said: “It goes without saying that these are always sad and difficult cases.

The council car park next to the Pentagon centre
The council car park next to the Pentagon centre

“One gleans some insight into a particular person’s life and it’s clear to me this was very out of character.”

A Medway Council spokesman said the authority was considering installing meshing or fencing on the top floor of the car park to act as a barrier.

A number of measures had already been taken to try and stop similar events, they added.

These include upgrading the CCTV system with a more modern camera, transfering the monitoring of the cameras to the CCTV control room and putting two Samaritans posters at towards the top of the car park.

CCTV control room staff will also be given training to spot signs that someone may be at risk of harm.

The inquest into the death of Lorna Cullen, 31, formerly of Kingswear Gardens, Strood, who fell from the same car park weeks later is due to be held at a later date.

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