RETIRED pensions administrator Paul Radford killed himself by driving his car at high speed into a stone wall on the edge of Exmoor, an inquest heard on Tuesday (August 15).

Mr Radford, aged 67, died at the scene of the crash near the Ralegh’s Cross Inn, on the Brendon Hills, on January 28 this year.

Somerset assistant coroner Stephen Covell was told Mr Radford was not wearing a seatbelt as he drove his Skoda Fabia car head on into the wall around the Brendon Hills Methodist Chapel at about 62 mph.

Mr Radford, of St Albans Place, Taunton, died from significant head and chest injuries and also suffered a fractured skull, leg, and arm, and other wounds.

Mr Covell said there were no signs on the road surface of any hard braking which might have indicated Mr Radford had lost control of the vehicle for any reason.

The crash happened a day after Mr Radford told his doctor he had taken an overdose of 40 painkillers, for which he was advised to attend the accident and emergency unit in Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.

While in the hospital Mr Radford was offered a psychiatric assessment but refused because he said he had to go home to look after his 92-year-old mother.

Taunton GP Tim Howes told the inquest Mr Radford had also taken an overdose on January 10 and had been kept in Musgrove for two days before being discharged after a psychiatric assessment deemed him to be ‘low risk’ for self-harm.

Dr Howes said: “He was really struggling with a number of issues.

“He was caring for his frail mother and felt it was becoming too much for him.

“He had a lot on his plate, structural issues with his house, car issues, financial issues.

“He overdosed because he felt under a lot of pressure.”

Dr Howes said despite this, Mr Radford refused to accept anti-depressant medication.

Mr Radford’s sister, Susan Drake, said in a statement her brother had been their mother’s main carer for about 10 years, providing her meals and looking after her finances and welfare.

She said toward the end of 2022 she noticed her brother was becoming anxious about ‘minor things, trivial, every day issues he seemed to think were worse than they were’.

He had discovered a lump which he was convinced was cancer, and when it was diagnosed as a hernia he then worried about the operation he would need to undergo.

Mrs Drake said while Mr Radford was in hospital after his first overdose she went to his house for the first time in 30 years and was shocked at the mess she found in every room.

In his summing up, Mr Covell said Mr Radford had no history of mental health issues and was outwardly smart, tidy, and organised, when in fact he was struggling to cope with life.

Mr Covell said on the day of his death Mr Radford had waited for a carer to arrive to look after his mother before driving off in his car.

All the evidence surrounding the crash led him to conclude Mr Radford’s death was suicide.