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May 20, 2014

JP Morgan exec killed himself leaping from U.K. building, inquest rules

Personal troubles led to performance issues at work
By Costas Pitas
    
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LONDON (Reuters) — A JP Morgan technology expert who fell to his death from the bank's tower in London's Canary Wharf financial district, killed himself, an inquest concluded on Tuesday.

Gabriel Magee, 39, a vice-president with the corporate and investment bank's technology arm, plunged from the building in January, hitting a lower, 9th-floor roof. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was visible for hours to workers overlooking the JP Morgan tower in Canary Wharf.

"I am wholly satisfied that Gabriel jumped off the 32nd floor with the intention of killing himself," senior coroner Mary Hassell said in her conclusion.

She also said it was clear that work performance issues he had previously faced were consequences of personal troubles.

The inquest got written evidence from a senior toxicologist that Magee, an American, had an alcohol level nearly three times the legal driving limit. An empty bottle of tequila was found among his possessions.

Computer notes

JP Morgan's head of investigations, Jonathan Shatford, told Poplar Coroner's court that a note was found on Magee's computer to "jump" from Jan. 27. Another note two weeks earlier read "try to jump off building."

He also said evidence from Magee's swipe card showed he tried to reach the roof and upper floors twice before his death, starting from November 2013. A padlock had been cut and Magee had climbed a stepladder to get to the roof, he said.

Mark Gibbons, a friend and colleague, said that although Magee had seemed happy, there had been a previous incident in New York when Magee had sent an email along the lines that he "couldn't handle this" before disappearing for a short while.

His former line manager, Andrew Harding told, the court that Magee asked for and received a reduced working week and that after a holiday in September, he seemed in a better frame of mind and his work improved.

The inquest also heard from several witnesses that Magee had been upset in early 2013, a year before his death, when he split up with his girlfriend. But Maya Cooray, a therapist who saw Magee for several months from March 2013, said she saw no signs of paranoia or depression during the 10-odd occasions they met.

Magee's was the second confirmed suicide by a London-based bank worker in 2014. He died just two days after the wife of a former senior manager at Deutsche Bank found him hanging at their home.

An inquest in March heard that William Broeksmit, 58, left several suicide notes and had been "very anxious" about the authorities investigating areas of banking where he had worked.

    
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