Fears for financial manager missing since Christmas Eve after he was sacked from his job over paperwork blunderNewcastle Building Society senior executive, 52, accidentally signed colleague's formWas devastated that people would think him dishonestWent to GP on Monday morning and rang wife of 34 years to say he was going to end his life
11:26 GMT, 28 December 2012
Colin Morton (pictured) went missing on Christmas Eve, days after losing his job
Fears were growing last night for a building society executive who disappeared days after being sacked for making a ‘simple mistake’.
Colin Morton, 52, was devastated to lose his job of ten years over the administrative error and was left feeling ashamed and depressed.
He saw his GP on Christmas Eve but, shortly afterwards, he phoned his long-term girlfriend Liz Callighan and said he was on the cliffs and wanted to end his life.
Less than an hour later, a man was seen wading into the sea at Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.
Police believe Mr Morton may have gone to the beach after making the call and are trying to identify the man.
Miss Callighan, 52, said her partner of 34 years was sacked as senior financial manager at the Newcastle Building Society only five days before he went missing.
He had been suspended since November 19 when it was discovered he had wrongly signed a form relating to work undertaken by a colleague.
Miss Callighan, of Whitley Bay, said: ‘Up until five weeks ago, Colin was a very chatty, sociable, friendly person. He would talk to anybody.
‘But when he was dismissed, I saw a huge change in him.
‘He was absolutely devastated. His career was a huge part of his life.
‘I just love him and whatever happened there was always a way we could have worked it out.’
Mr Morton had worked for the building society for more than a decade and had hoped bosses would accept he made an innocent mistake.
But at a disciplinary hearing last week, he was fired. He feared people would believe he was dishonest and became very depressed.
The last known footage of Mr Morton shows him on a footbridge at Whitley Bay Metro Station
‘He made a simple mistake,’ said Miss Callighan. ‘It was a split-second decision. I think his over-riding feeling was shame.’
She said his state of mind quickly deteriorated.
‘I was just constantly trying to calm
him down and, at times, he was fine, but then he would get himself all
worked up again,’ she said.
‘He just felt like he had lost everything he had worked for. I was very concerned.
He would say things like “I can’t go on.”
‘Things came to a head late on
Sunday. I knew he needed professional help and I tried to take him to
the hospital but he wouldn’t go.
Police are trying to trace a man who was last seen walking into the sea in his boxer shorts near a cafe in Whitley Bay
‘I wish I had just called an ambulance now.’
Police searching CCTV footage have an
image of Mr Morton, wearing a hooded top and tracksuit bottoms, taken
at Whitley Bay Metro station on Christmas Eve walking in the direction
of his GP.
He left the surgery at 9.15am and went to a bank in the town centre before calling Miss Callighan in a suicidal state.
Police want to discover if he was the man seen walking into the sea at 10am or if that was an unrelated festive swimmer.
The man was spotted near the Rendezvous Cafe on the seafront wearing boxer shorts or swimming trunks.
Superintendent Peter Farrell said:
‘We need to establish if this was someone walking into the sea for a dip
so we can eliminate this possible sighting from our enquiries.
‘We believe Mr Morton may have gone
for a walk on the beach after phoning his partner, so we urgently need
to establish if the man walking into the sea is him.’
Mr Morton's partner, Liz Callighan, said she was worried about his welfare