Coroner records death of JP Morgan IT executive Gabriel Magee as suicide


An IT executive at an investment bank who jumped from the 32nd floor of its London headquarters had twice before tried to gain access to the roof of the building, an inquest has heard.

Gabriel Magee, 39, the US-born vice-president of IT at JP Morgan, used boltcutters get through a padlocked hatch on to the roof and had made two attempts in the weeks before his death to gain access to the floor, Poplar coroner's court heard.

His body was found on the protruding ninth floor roof of the Canary Wharf building in east London at 8am on 28 January. An empty bottle of tequila was found on the 32nd floor.

A message to himself on his work computer written the night before he was found read "jump". Other previous messages read "try to jump off building" and "hate my life". The coroner ruled he had jumped with the intention of killing himself.

Magee, described as intelligent, kind and with a brilliant mind, had been through a bad relationship breakup at the end of 2012 but had a new girlfriend, Veronica Strande, by January 2014. he had seemed to be happier, the inquest heard.

On the night he accessed the roof, he texted Strande and she believed he was going to be late home because he had problems at work. His last text to her was at just after midnight on 28 January.

His former girlfriend Lucy Pinches said he had a "darker and "tormented side" that he was good at disguising from others. He became increasingly deluded and paranoid before their relationship ended and she urged him to see a doctor. A friend and colleague said Magee had once accused her of being a white witch trying to poison him.

Pinches, a communications officer for a landmine clearance organisation, said he had an interest in parallel universes. He "lost touch with reality" and she was quite surprised he had managed to hold down his job at JP Morgan, she said.

Magee, who had gone on to a three-day week to help him cope after the relationship breakup, had sought help from a behavioural therapist, who told the inquest she had no reason to suspect he was at risk of taking his own life.

He was not under pressure from work, but his work performance was affected "by his internal feelings" and it was "remarkable he managed to hold down a job", the coroner, Mary Hassel, said.

Recording a verdict of suicide, she said she was satisfied that no other people were involved in his death. No blame could be attached to JP Morgan, she added.

After the inquest, Magee's father Bill, a former commander in the US air force, said he did not want to agree with the verdict, and that his son could have fallen after drinking the tequila and deciding whether to jump or not. He said it was the bank's responsibility to prevent employees accessing the roof.

Powered by article was written by Caroline Davies, for The Guardian on Tuesday 20th May 2014 19.54 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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