Suicide verdict over JP Morgan employee's fall from Canary Wharf tower

By Rob Virtue on May 20, 2014 5:59 PM |

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JP Morgan worker Gabriel Magee was on the roof of the firm's Bank Street offices for a number of hours, drinking a bottle of tequila before jumping to his death, Poplar Coroners' Court heard.

In the inquest into the incident on January 28 this year, senior coroner Mary Hassell said she was satisfied the 39-year-old vice president in IT had planned to kill himself after she had heard troubling evidence about his state of mind.

"Having heard the evidence I'm sure no-one pushed him," said the coroner on Tuesday.

"Why did he jump? To go down at least 21 floors there's no other explanation than causing his own death. So I'm satisfied Gabriel jumped off the 32nd floor with intention of killing himself."

The inquest heard evidence from JP Morgan and police investigators. They told how Gabriel had visited the top floors of the tower weeks and even months before his death, and on a number of occasions tried to swipe through an exit door to the roof but did not have access.

On the evening in question he climbed a ladder to a secure hatch and cut through the padlock with bolt cutters.

Company investigator Jonathan Shatford also pointed out a number of notes on Gabriel's work computer which suggested his intentions.

He said he wrote "jump" on a document just hours before he climbed on to the roof and, two weeks earlier, had written "try to jump off building" on another entry.

Gabriel was last seen on CCTV at 8.11pm on January 27 as he made his way through the hatch. He sent a text message to his girlfriend just before 12.30am that night saying he was on his way home soon.

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Above, Gabriel's girlfriend Veronica Strande, left, pictured with his sister at Tuesday's hearing

But he never returned and was found dead on the roof of the ninth floor the following morning. Medical reports showed he had an alcohol level three times the drink driving limit.

The inquest heard Gabriel was upset by the break-up of a previous relationship a year before. However, by September 2013 he was settled with a new girlfriend.

He had visited therapist Maya Cooray for a number of months. She told the inquest there were no real fears over his mental health.

His girlfriend Veronica Strande also said that, in the days before his death, they had talked about their future and plans to spend a year living somewhere else in Europe once his citizenship was approved.

However, the court heard he had suffered from paranoia in the months after his break-up, which concerned friends.

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His ex-girlfriend Lucy Pinches, pictured above, said: "He was a unique person. He was incredibly intelligent, had a brilliant mind, was very kind, affectionate and incredibly creative. He had a good sense of humour and was good company to be with.

"But he had a darker side to him. I thought he suffered from some sort of depression. He had a darkness linked to his creativity."

She also said he was reading Robert Graves book on witches, White Goddess, and had been making accusations against her.

"He started merging the book with reality," she said.

Ms Pinches' comments were supported by Gabriel's friend and JP Morgan colleague Mark Gibbons who said he had urged him to seek medical help.

"At one time in 2013, Gabriel was having very unusual thoughts," he said. "He made a joke that he thought Lucy was a witch and was trying to poison him. And after he had been to a festival he made a comment that the friends she was with were witches too."

Recording a verdict of suicide, Ms Hassell said: "From the evidence it was clear Gabriel was a very bright person, entirely capable of fooling those around him. He didn't want to burden them."