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Teacher at private school found hanged in his home after losing his job for 'heavy drinking' Paul McCaffery had also been told to leave his Royal Hospital School home
Inquest heard he was sacked for 'alcohol related' issues and lost his appealHis brother wants an apology from the 30,000-a-year boarding schoolHe said it should have kept the family informed about his 'mental health'Coroner said school has no 'liability' for Mr McCaffery's suicide
13:58 GMT, 22 December 2012
Suicide: An inquest heard Paul McCaffrey was found hanged at his Royal Hospital School home in Holbrook, after losing his job
A teacher hanged himself at a 30,000-a-year private school after being sacked for alleged heavy drinking, an inquest heard.
Paul McCaffery, 46, lost his job as assistant director of music at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Suffolk, in January this year.
He was given notice to leave his house at the 680-pupil school by the end of the Easter holidays.
Maintenance staff found Mr McCaffery, who had taught at the school for 20 years, hanging in his staff accommodation on March 29 after a friend got no reply the previous evening.
The inquest in Ipswich heard Mr McCaffery was sacked for 'alcohol related' issues. His appeal against dismissal was turned down by headteacher Howard Blackett.
Mr McCaffery's brother Philip said after the hearing that the teacher had been accused of being drunk at a Christmas dinner last year when he had simply fallen off his chair while pulling a Christmas cracker.
He added that his brother's death could have been averted and demanded and apology from the school, which he claimed still had questions to answer.
Recording a verdict of suicide, Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: 'Concerns were raised about his response to losing his job, which was a very significant part of his life, and it is clear that losing his job meant losing his home.'
A post-mortem found the cause of death to be compression of neck structures. Toxicology tests also found a raised alcohol level.
The inquest heard that an assessment carried out by a mental health crisis team in February, did not find Mr McCaffery to be at risk of suicide.
But the inquest heard how he had earlier been complaining of anxiety attacks and was prescribed beta-blockers by the school's doctor.
Dr Dean said: 'The family said had they known more they would have taken further steps. We can't be certain that even if they had all the information this tragedy could have been averted.
Historic: Royal Hospital School opened in 1715 and has fees of up to 30,000-a-year for boarders
'The school went through a process they felt they had to go through. They shared some information but some things they couldn't share because of patient confidentiality. It was a difficult decision for the school to take about a valuable member of staff.
'It does appear beyond reasonable doubt, Paul intended the consequences of his actions and I record a verdict that Paul McCaffery took his own life.'
Dr Dean said he would be writing to the school to remind them of the need 'to look at all aspects of vulnerability' when making decision about staff.
He said: 'Clearly it was a hard decision for the school but we need to raise the awareness – that is not to imply any liability on the school's part.'
Mr McCaffery's brother Philip said after Thursday's inquest at the IP-City centre in Ipswich that there were still questions that needed to be answered by the school and he would be seeking a meeting with the school's trustees – Greenwich Hospital.
He said: 'I think Paul's death could have been averted. If I had all the information to hand I don't think Paul would be dead now.
Hanged: Maintenance staff found Mr McCaffery dead in his staff accommodation at the school
'The school had pre-conceived ideas about Paul having drinking problems which clouded his dismissal. I'm disappointed nobody from the school apart from the doctor attended today. There's a big void of answers the family is still seeking.
'Looking back, he didn't have a drink problem, he had mental health issues. The school could have kept the family better informed without breaking patient confidentiality.
'I want the school to apologise and admit more could have been done. He was a larger-than-life character and loved by so many, including parents and pupils. He has helped so many people to achieve their goals, not just in music but in life.'
The school, founded in 1715 to educate the sons of seafarers, has boarding fees of 29,937-a-year, which are heavily discounted for the children of Royal Navy personnel.
Nobody from the Royal Hospital School was available for comment.