Debt-ridden Calne solictor committed suicide, inquest concludes (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Debt-ridden Calne solictor committed suicide, inquest concludes
5:19pm Friday 29th June 2012 in News
A debt-ridden solicitor hanged himself in his office after the collapse of the housing market wrecked his firm, an inquest heard today (Friday).
Jan Anton Czul, of Spirthill, near Calne, who set up the company, stuck a note covering the glass window of his office door stating "do not enter" before taking an overdose of Paracetamol.
The 59-year-old also typed a letter to a colleague, asking her to tell police it was suicide before hanging himself from a wooden beam at JAC Solicitors, on May 3, last year.
The dramatic death came after a week in which the office phones had rung off the hook as loan companies and banks tried to call in debts owed by his business.
In a statement read at the inquest former colleague Judith Griffiths said the writing had been on the wall for the business for some time.
"In 2011 the business was obviously under strain because the housing market was stuck in decline.
"The debts at this time weren't being paid because there were no funds.
"In the week before Jan died there were constant calls from loan companies wanting to speak with him and calls from banks because he was not returning their calls."
Ms Griffiths initially saw the handwritten message pressed against his office door's window before returning to her own desk where a typed letter pleaded with her to "call the police saying you found a suicide note".
"As soon as I read the note I went to the office reception and the other staff members rang the police," she said.
"I was in a panic so I contacted another solicitor to see what I should do. When the ambulance staff arrived they went upstairs.
"Shortly after that they came back downstairs and said 'it's too late'.
"My understanding was that he was dead."
Mr Czul had locked the room from the inside, leaving the key in the lock so the door could not be opened, the inquest in Trowbridge, heard today Friday.
Police had to smash the glass window and tear away the note before unlocking it from the inside and it was only then they found his lifeless body at the firm's offices, in Avon Reach, Chippenham.
On the desk were several Paracetamol tablets and an open bottle, which a post mortem examination later revealed he had used to take an overdose.
The once-successful lawyer, who specialised in conveyancing, business law and personal injury advice, had swallowed enough tablets to kill him, although the drugs did not ultimately have time to take affect.
Police Constable Robert Wilson said in a written statement: "I used my baton to break through the window.
"As I did I noticed a male on the right hand side. He was suspended from a piece of wood with a rope which was secured around his neck.
"The ambulance staff advised that he was dead."
Recording a verdict of suicide, assistant deputy coroner Claire Balysz said: "He had significant financial problems.
"He was found on the May 3, 2011, hanging by a rope at his place of work.
"He had left a suicide note with details of his financial and business circumstances."
She added: "My conclusion is that Jan took his own life."