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Unemployment: 31-Year-Old Graduate With A PhD Degree Commits Suicide After Being Forced To Work At Call Center

Unemployment: 31-Year-Old Graduate With A PhD Degree Commits Suicide After Being Forced To Work At Call Center

An academic jumped off scaffolding to his death when he was only able to find a job in a call centre after finishing his doctorate, an inquest heard today.

Unemployment: 31-Year-Old Graduate With A PhD Degree Commits Suicide After Being Forced To Work At Call Center

Dr Philip Elliott, 31, who had recently completed a PhD in physics at Reading University, was seen on the sixth floor of an apartment block in west London just after 11am on January 27 this year.

Police tried to call him down but he fell from the property in Cromwell Street, Kensington, an hour later, the hearing was told.

Westminster Coroner's Court heard Dr Elliott - who was also a qualified engineer and was described as a 'high academic achiever' - had suffered a number of career knock-backs in the weeks leading to his death.

His landlord of seven years Harry Duphnath said the most recent he knew of was in December last year.

In a statement read to the inquest Mr Duphnath said: 'I was aware Philip had started a job with Southern Electric - I think in a call centre - which wasn't what he aspired to.

'He mentioned being frustrated at work and unhappy about being there and had started looking for other jobs and going for interviews.

'The last one was the week before Christmas in 2012.

'I saw him ironing his shirt getting ready for the interview.

'While I was there he checked his emails and he had one which said the interview had been cancelled.

'He was a bit low about that, but he wasn't angry. He said that he would plod on and keep going.'

The landlord said he received a text message from Dr Elliott on January 24, three days before his death, apologising for not doing some tidying up. 

It read: 'Sorry. I've had a terrible time the last three weeks. Thanks for your patience. I can't explain how stressful it's been, but I appreciate it's not your fault.'

Mr Duphnath said him and his wife Sonia were 'utterly shocked' to hear Philip had taken his life days later.

Det Con David Gadsby, of the Metropolitan Police, said a resident in the block where Dr Elliott died reported hearing footsteps on the roof at 9.30am that morning, but thought nothing of it and went back to bed.

An hour-and-a-half later a motorist driving past the building called police expressing concern a man might be preparing to jump.

Officers arrived within five minutes but were advised not to talk him down as it was too dangerous to get out onto the scaffolding.

Paramedics who were already on the scene tried to revive him but the science mad graduate was pronounced dead from multiple injuries at 12.10pm.

Westminster Coroner Darren Stewart said he could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that Dr Elliott meant to take his own life as it could have been a 'cry for help.'

Recording a narrative verdict, he explained: 'It is clear he was a high academic achiever in science, having achieved a PhD from the University of Reading, but he had not been able to get a job for some time.

'He took work which was perhaps not entirely suited to his skill sets in that he was working in a call centre.

'However, it shows Dr Elliot was committed to gaining employment and to progressing in his life. 

'What is clear from the evidence is that he received a number of blows to his confidence in terms of jobs he aspired to which were either unsuccessful or withdrawn.

'It is clear that this had an impact on his general morale, and on the 27th of January 2013 Dr Elliott climbed up on to some scaffolding in Cromwell Road, Kensington.

'Officers decided not to try and talk Dr Elliott down as it would have been dangerous to them and to him.

'Sadly, shortly thereafter, Dr Elliott made a gesture with his arms and appeared to dive towards the ground striking the pavement.'

He added: 'Police enquiries revealed no indication Dr Elliott's actions were planned or that he had intended to take his life, nor is there any evidence to suggest Dr Elliott was subject to any mental health care.

'Whilst perhaps disappointed and suffering from a degree of depression due to his lack of work opportunities he was otherwise a fit, intelligent young man who had achieved well at university.

'It makes the outcome of what occurred on January 27 2013 all the sadder due to that.

'I am not satisfied on what has been presented before me as to be certain Dr Elliott intended to take his own. It is entirely possible this could have been a cry for help.'

None of Dr Elliott's family attended the inquest in central London, but they have since set up a remembrance page in his memory.

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