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Family of Chatham grandfather speak about his depression battle before he stabbed himself in chest

The family of a "devoted" grandfather who stabbed himself in the chest after a two-decade battle with depression, have spoken of their concerns about the way his illness was treated.

Without warning Roy Batt, 60, grabbed a knife in the kitchen of his home in Spitfire Close, Chatham, in January.

In the weeks before his death, he’d told his GP he “didn’t feel like living anymore”.

Roy Batt with granddaughter Medina, 2 (10011172)
Roy Batt with granddaughter Medina, 2 (10011172)

But even then the medication he had been on since 1997 was not reviewed, despite the fact symptoms of the depakote and venlafaxine pills include suicidal thoughts and actions.

The father-of-two’s battle with mental health began in 1994 when he was seriously injured in a car crash in Germany.

He was just 35 but was unable to work again.

While he was in a coma, the huge David Bowie fan's family wrote to the superstar who in return sent a tape of him urging Mr Batt to come round. He also invited him to breakfast but Mr Batt did not go.

Mr Batt had previously named his son David after his idol, giving him 11 middle names. David is now a world famous DJ who produced House Every Weekend.

His wife Sylvia Potter would tell investigators after his death, despite feeling like he was the same man after the accident, he needed help with every day tasks and she became his carer.

Roy Batt, wife Sylvia and granddaughter Medina, 2 (10022286)
Roy Batt, wife Sylvia and granddaughter Medina, 2 (10022286)

An inquest at Maidstone’s Archbishop’s Palace heard how on the morning of Tuesday, January 29, Mr Batt took his dog for a walk and bought his lottery tickets as normal.

He was due to go and watch his team Manchester United at his son David’s house but suddenly decided he did not want to go.

As Ms Potter waited at the window for David she heard a noise and ran to the kitchen to find Mr Batt clutching his chest.

He said “I love you girl” before slumping to the floor.

Despite the best efforts of medics, the retired bricklayer died of a punctured lung and heart.

Roy Batt with David and Janine (10022284)
Roy Batt with David and Janine (10022284)

Assistant coroner Katrina Hepburn heard Mr Batt had spoken of feeling suicidal to his son in the years prior to his death and the week before had taken a knife into the garden.

She was told by Sgt Julie Albone an investigation established there had been no third-party involvement. She recorded a verdict of suicide.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Batt’s family paid tribute to him.

Daughter Janine, 32, said: “He was the most intelligent and talented person we knew - a devoted father, grandad and husband - who also helped physically build his community.

“He helped construct many buildings including the church that stands next to Morrison’s in Princes Park.

“We built some treasured memories together. Two years ago he became a grandfather, a role he loved that gave him a new lease of life and an unbreakable bond with his granddaughter.”

Roy Batt and Janine (10022288)
Roy Batt and Janine (10022288)

But she added the family were concerned about the high dosage and combination of medicines he was prescribed.

She said: “His medication wasn’t reviewed even after he told his GP his mood was low - it was actually increased.

"There was no extra support and we feel like our dad’s death could have been prevented.

“Instead we are left deeply heartbroken and in shock - it was so sudden and we are still wondering why.

"There was so much more life to live and good times to look forward to especially with his cherished granddaughter Medina who is just two. She will always be a grandad’s girl and speaks about him every day.

“He was a teacher, was strong, self-made, and quite the perfectionist.

"His knowledge, skill and creative ability tower above anyone else’s we know. To say we love him and are going to miss him would be an understatement. We are proud to call him our dad.

“We’re still coming to terms with what happened but we certainly want to pursue this.

"It’s not right people should be left on these medications without review, it’s happening all the time.

“We would urge anyone with any concerns about their medication to always ask their doctor to look at their prescription.”

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

You can also find more information here.

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