Dereham prison officer battled with depression before suicide

Police on the scene at Etling Green, where a body was found in a car. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Police on the scene at Etling Green, where a body was found in a car. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A senior prison officer killed himself after a battle with depression and two attacks by inmates.

Father-of-two Paul Mann, 50, of Foxglove Drive, Dereham, died on December 8, 2014 after his car was found alight in a lay-by on the B1147 at Etling Green.

Norfolk Coroner's Court yesterday heard how the former Royal Marine lost confidence at Wayland prison, where he worked for 22 years, after the two assaults.

The first time he suffered burns after boiling water was thrown at his face, and the second saw a prisoner try to kick him in the head, catching his shoulder instead.

These incidents, his wife Tracey Mann said, combined with laser eye surgery, marked a change in his behaviour.

The inquest heard how doctors from Toftwood Medical Practice tried Mr Mann on a variety on anti-depressants after he spoke of insomnia and low mood.

On the morning of his death, he left the family home and his wife of 26½ years soon became worried.

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The court heard how Mr Mann had been signed off work from Wayland prison, had started to see a councillor and registered for the NHS Wellbeing Service.

But Mrs Mann said he felt 'unsupported' at work and had retreated from a group, which dealt with inmate riots, because of low confidence.

GP Wendy Clark told the court Mr Mann did not have any suicidal intents when she saw him.

Assistant coroner Johanna Thompson recorded a verdict of suicide.

She said: 'From the evidence I have heard I am satisfied that while suicide ideations had not been expressed to Mrs Mann or his doctor prior to carrying out this act, the act itself involved planning and suicidal intent.'

Anyone feeling distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans on 08457 909090 or email