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HEPBURN: MILLIONAIRE TRIED TO HACK OFF HIS LEGS BECAUSE HE COULD NOT GET THEM INTO HIS JAG

A paralysed millionaire bled to death when he tried to amputate his own legs with a hacksaw because he could not get them into his Jaguar, an inquest heard. 

Barrie Hepburn, 65, became wheelchair bound after his neighbour shot him three times following an argument over a neighbour's dog at his south of France holiday home.

The retired property consultant - whose wife Susan runs a Harley Street clinic where the clients include singer Lily Allen - survived the attack in 2000, but was left wheelchair-bound due to his injuries.

He drove a specially modified Jaguar XJ - but had problems getting in and out of the car.

He was found on the floor of his kitchen in (4 Durham House, 9) Lorne Close, Mayfair, on August 29 last year while his wife was visiting their son James in America.

He had spoken to her earlier in the day by telephone and told her he was fine.

But just a few hours later he used a hacksaw to almost completely sever his right leg and using a plastic bag as a makeshift tourniquet.

He called for an ambulance at around 2.15pm reporting he was suffering from heavy bleeding, but slipped into unconsciousness and died before paramedics could reach him.

The sports car enthusiast had often spoken of using self-surgery to amputate his 'useless' limbs, Westminster Coroner's Court was told.

He had repeatedly raised the issue of amputation with surgeons and researched methods of self-surgery on the internet.

The businessman believed that once he reached a certain point in the procedure doctors have would no choice but to operate and had packed a bag for his hospital admission, including newspapers, magazines and cake, when his body was discovered.

Mr Hepburn had been referred to Westminster's community mental health team by his GP on July 28, but although he had a history of depression and 'impulsive behaviour' they concluded he was not mentally ill.

Psychiatrist Leena Reddy found there was a 'low' risk of suicide and of him attempting self-surgery.

But she said she feared the risk of him trying to amputate his legs would rise to 'moderate to high' if doctors refused to carry out the procedure for him.

In one appointment, he told Dr Reddy: 'Do you think this is self harm? It's not.

'I'm just trying to get rid of things that are useless.

'It was my conclusion that he had the capacity to request the procedure,' said Dr Reddy.

Mr Hepburn had been due to enter Charing Cross Hospital to receive surgery for a separate issue of pressure sores and it had been planned that surgeons and mental health professionals would discuss amputation with him in an effort to dissuade him.

But he was turned away on August 23, just days before his death, because it was not felt surgery was necessary.

'Everyone was under the impression that he was going to be in hospital for a few days and that would give the opportunity for a joint approach,' said Westminster Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe.

'Unfortunately, that didn't occur.'

'Events overtook things when he, for whatever reason, decided on August 29 that he would take matters into his own hands.

'This was a shock to everyone and what triggered him to think of doing this, we don't know.'

The coroner added: 'He had problems with his independence relating to getting his legs into a car.

'That's why he wanted this legs apuatated. He became more determined when he bought a Jaguar XJ in 2009.'

Recording a verdict of misadventure, the coroner said: 'I think it's quite clear that he had no intention of taking his own life.

'This was simply a sensible and practical way of dealing with a problem he had as a previously fit, active, independent and healthy man.

'This was a tragic turn of events.'

In a statement, Mr Hepburn's family said: 'Barrie was an incredibly loving husband and father and his death has devastated our close knit family.

'Our loss is immeasurable. We accept the coroner's findings today and hope that the verdict will help us begin to face the future without him.

'We as a family are grieving beyond belief.'

Verdict: misadventure
ends

 
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