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Lawyer Who Fell to His Death from Tate Modern Was Driven Mad by Cannabis


— May 15, 2007

Matthew Courtney

A young lawyer who fell to his death from the top floor of the Tate Modern [in London] had undergone years of treatment for cannabis-induced mental illness, an inquest heard.

Oxford-educated Matthew Courtney, the 27-year-old son of former World Cup referee George Courtney, had been working up to 14 hours a day at a top City law firm [Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer] in the run-up to his death. The day before, Mr Courtney had told his psychiatrist that he was worried his long hours were triggering a relapse of manic depression, for which he had been receiving treatment for seven years.

After finishing work at 8.30pm on Friday, February 9, Mr Courtney had gone to the Thames-side art gallery and was using his BlackBerry wireless phone on the seventh floor when he fell to his death.

Yesterday’s hearing at Southwark Coroner’s Court was told it may have been an accident and that he had sat on a banister without realising there was a gap between it and the wall. . . .

[T]he day before his death, Mr Courtney rang his psychiatrist, Dr Mike Bellew, saying he was worried that his hours – frequently from 8am to 10pm – and problems getting to sleep meant he was heading for a relapse.

Details here from ThisLondon.co.uk.


Matthew Courtney

A young lawyer who fell to his death from the top floor of the Tate Modern [in London] had undergone years of treatment for cannabis-induced mental illness, an inquest heard.

Oxford-educated Matthew Courtney, the 27-year-old son of former World Cup referee George Courtney, had been working up to 14 hours a day at a top City law firm [Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer] in the run-up to his death. The day before, Mr Courtney had told his psychiatrist that he was worried his long hours were triggering a relapse of manic depression, for which he had been receiving treatment for seven years.

After finishing work at 8.30pm on Friday, February 9, Mr Courtney had gone to the Thames-side art gallery and was using his BlackBerry wireless phone on the seventh floor when he fell to his death.

Yesterday’s hearing at Southwark Coroner’s Court was told it may have been an accident and that he had sat on a banister without realising there was a gap between it and the wall. . . .

[T]he day before his death, Mr Courtney rang his psychiatrist, Dr Mike Bellew, saying he was worried that his hours – frequently from 8am to 10pm – and problems getting to sleep meant he was heading for a relapse.

Details here from ThisLondon.co.uk.

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