Jilted husband took cocktail of cyanide to kill himself
A SUICIDAL chemical technician downed a "significant" amount of cyanide just days after his wife left him, an inquest heard.
And Donald Griffiths, who killed himself at Etruria-based AB Chemicals, left notes to warn co-workers of the fatal cocktail to protect them from harm.
The 57-year-old from Milton was found lying on the floor of his office on October 20, last year, just two days after finding a letter from his wife telling him their marriage was over.
Yesterday's inquest at North Staffordshire Coroners' Court in Hartshill heard Janet Griffiths left a letter for her husband on Monday, October 18, telling him she was leaving him.
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That night, after returning home from work, Mr Griffiths called co-worker Michael Rose and claimed he had suffered an accident on his scooter and would not be in work the next day. Later police tests revealed there was no damage to the vehicle.
The next day he visited neighbour Roy Jones who he asked to look after the couple's dog Benji and explained he was "going away for a couple of days."
He also left a letter addressed to his wife in the kitchen of their home.
It is believed early the next morning, Mr Griffiths, who had a son from a previous marriage, travelled by taxi to the factory where he had worked for five years, and killed himself.
Prior to his death Mr Griffiths, who had worked his way from general warehouse assistant to supervisor, left a note addressed to Mr Rose next to a sign-in sheet which simply read "I am in my room dead on the floor" and contained details of the lethal mixture he had concocted.
A seat from the firm's managing director Andy Bourne's office had also been placed outside the room. It is believed Mr Griffiths took the actions to protect his co-workers from coming into contact with the chemicals he had used.
Wife Janet, who Mr Griffiths met in 1987, said: "I left him on the Monday while he was at work and left a letter. The letter told him I was leaving him permanently."
Mrs Griffiths, who has so far refused to read the letter Mr Griffiths left for her, told the inquest she had left her husband roughly four times in the past but on this occasion left no forwarding address as she didn't want to be contacted.
She said: "The last time I saw him was on Monday morning when I made his breakfast before he went to work."
Mrs Griffiths also revealed Mr Griffiths had attempted suicide before they had met. But she admitted October's incident had come as a shock.
She added: "He's the last person I thought could have done something like this. He was a very strong-willed, level-headed person. He was also a very private person."
He was discovered by Mr Rose who also spotted a half-empty glass on Mr Griffith's desk containing a brown liquid. A note by the container detailed what had gone into it as a warning for whoever found him.
The area was sealed off by emergency services for several hours because of the threat posed by the chemicals.
In his role at the firm, Mr Griffiths enjoyed access to all the stock at the site.
Mr Bourne, who started the company 11 years ago, said: "We couldn't ask for a better employee, he was exceptionally conscientiousness and reliable."
North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said: "He drank a significant amount of cyanide, more than enough to kill him.
Mr Smith recorded a verdict of suicide.