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Popular Gillingham doctor Conor O’Loughlin took his own life, inquest hears

A popular and respected family doctor took his own life after suffering from a period of poor mental health, an inquest has heard.

A hearing at County Hall heard how Dr Conor O'Loughlin, who worked at the Woodlands Family Practice in Gillingham, had referred himself for mental health treatment in December last year, reporting a low mood, anxiety and stress at home due to problems in his relationship with his wife.

The Woodlands Family Practice in Woodlands Road Gillingham
The Woodlands Family Practice in Woodlands Road Gillingham

Subsequent assessment of his mental health had concluded his risk of self harm was low, and he had expressed “futuristic thinking” in terms of hopes for the future.

He had been due to continue with a course of therapy but was found dead on March 11, having hanged himself in the garden at his family home the previous night.

The inquest heard that wife Kate had decided to stay away from the home on the night of March 10, having seen things on his phone which were “a cause for concern”.

Detective Sergeant Emma Allison had attended the home with officers the next day, after reports Dr O’Loughlin had not been seen online for 12 hours, and he was found in the garden.

She told the court how notes were also found indicating an intention to take his own life and that an investigation of his phone revealed Dr O’Loughlin had made searcheson how to take his own life.

County Hall, Maidstone
County Hall, Maidstone

CCTV had also shown his actions near the property in the run up to his death.

Assistant coroner James Dillon recorded a verdict of suicide and expressed his condolences to the family.

A statement from Kate O’Loughlin said: “It is difficult to describe how painful and upsetting the last few months have been for our family. Conor was a much-loved husband and father and his death has been devastating for us all. We are grateful for the love and concern people have shown us and ask now for some privacy as we seek to rebuild our lives.”

Tributes flooded in Dr O’Loughlin’s death, with many patients and colleagues taking to social media to express their sadness.

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Among more than 80 messages online was one from Louise Smith who stated: "Such sad news. Doctor Conor was the only doctor who ever took real time and care into helping myself and my problems. He was the nicest, kindest doctor I ever had, who went above and beyond to take care of his patients.

“So shocking as I saw him just last week and he gave me the best last bit of advice and I told him he was my favourite doctor. Always took time to care for my son and I if we had a problem.

"Loveliest doctor, only one who ever actually listened. Rest in peace."

A message from the practice in Woodlands Road read: "It is with deep sadness and regret that we inform you of the death of our colleague and friend Dr Conor O'Loughlin who passed away on Friday unexpectedly.

"We send our condolences to his friends and family and ask for privacy for them. We ask all or patients for their support and patience at this difficult time."

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