BBC editor killed himself after telling GP of fears over new shift patterns following move to SalfordFather-of-three was a 'model employee' but he became increasingly stressed, inquest told
BBC offers its 'sincere sympathies' to his family and children
10:40 GMT, 2 December 2012
A BBC editor took his own life after expressing concerns to his GP about the introduction of new shift patterns, an inquest heard.
Paul Crompton was found dead in a country park a month after he began to work nights as part of changes brought in following the broadcaster’s move to MediaCityUK.
The 49-year-old,a father-of-three, had more than 30 years’ experience at the BBC and was described as a ‘model employee.'
MediaCity in Salford: BBC Editor Paul Crompton was found hanged in a country park after suffering anxiety about his changing shift patterns
Mr Crompton had been based at Oxford Road in Manchester, working on a number of regional news programmes including North West Tonight and Inside Out.
But he told his doctor he began to suffer from anxiety when the BBC proposed a new 24-hour rolling news working regime with the move of programmes to Salford.
The new shift patterns were presented to staff in August 2011 and meant Mr Crompton would work more irregular hours, including night shifts.
He became increasingly stressed by the changes and was also worried by other issues including equipment failures at the Liverpool studios and having to travel up to three hours a day from his home in Woodley, Stockport.
Picturesque: Etherow Country Park at Compstall near Stockport, where Mr Crompton's body was discovered
His wife Susan, told an inquest that her husband felt that the working conditions were likely to worsen in future.
Tragedy: Paul Crompton was found hanged at Etherow Country Park. He had been at the BBC for 30 years
She said he had told her shortly before his death: 'As long as I am there they are going to keep taking.'
The inquest in Stockport was told Mr Crompton had spoken to his GP Dr Monica Chandran to express his concerns.
Chandran said: 'He was suffering from anxiety and poor sleep which was
related to the new work patterns which he was unhappy about.'
But following a later consultation, the doctor described how Mr Crompton appeared to be improving.
blood pressure was normal and he felt he was coping better,' she said.
'Things had improved and there was no evidence of depression on that
Mr Crompton was allowed by the BBC to stay on his regular shifts after he raised concerns but eventually started the new rota last April.
This required him to work blocks of night shifts, including nine nights during that month.
He was found hanged from a tree at Etherow Country Park, by a man out walking dogs on May 18.
Head of BBC news in Salford, Stephen Jackson, said: 'Paul was pretty quiet and unassuming, he was very professional and creative and he was an individual you could trust to get the job done and was well regarded.”
He said Mr Crompton had raised concerns about how things might change under the new working pattern at an appraisal in June 2011.
He added: 'Paul seemed to want to move on and had a wish or a need to move to the video library. We discussed what his job was going to be like and he had reservations about working nights.'
The manager said he stressed to Mr Crompton that ‘his door was always open’.
Elizabeth Smith, head of human resources at the BBC, provided a statement to the inquest saying since Mr Crompton’s death there had been additional efforts made within the corporation to encourage staff who worked nights to come forward, in an effort to ‘flush out issues.’
Deputy South Manchester coroner Joanne Kearsley acknowledged the BBC had been trying manage his stress and would have had ‘no reason’ to expect he would take his own life.
She said: 'I have to conclude that the deceased has taken his own life. I know what you really want me to do is to tell you what happened and it’s not the question I can answer for you. There was no evidence left telling us about his intentions.'
After the inquest the BBC released a statement saying: 'The BBC extends its sincere sympathies to Paul’s wife and children; his wider family; his friends and colleagues at this very sad time.
'Paul was a highly valued and well-respected BBC employee for 30 years. He is deeply missed by everyone who he worked with and who knew him well.'