Tycoon who had cancer killed himself with poison in sauna

A millionaire shipping magnate killed himself by pouring rat poison on to his home sauna, an inquest was told yesterday.

Sir Derek Bibby, 80, president of the Liverpool-based Bibby Group, was suffering from prostate cancer and leukaemia when he ladled the rat poisonover hot coals to produce a toxic gas, aluminium phosphide. The inquest at Wallasey Town Hall was told that Sir Derek's daughter, Jennifer, arrived at the family home in Willaston, Cheshire, on 9 October to find a note warning her to stay clear of the sauna and call 999. Firemen in protective clothing broke in and found Sir Derek slumped on the floor, barely conscious.

Sir Derek, who had mixed the rat poison with water in an ice-cream tub, was taken to Arrowe Park Hospital, Birkenhead, but later pronounced dead. The hospital's casualty department was closed for 12 hours because of toxic fumes from the body. Doctors were unable to examine the dead tycoon because of the toxicity, but the Wirral coroner, Christopher Johnson, used the evidence of doctors and the emergency services to conclude that Sir Derek died of respiratory failure caused by aluminium phosphide.

The inquest was told that Sir Derek repeatedly said he planned to kill himself if his illness affected the quality of his life. The coroner, Christopher Johnson, recording a verdict of suicide, said Sir Derek appeared to have made a "clear and conscious decision to end his life". He added: "The manner and circumstances of his death leave me in no doubt that it was his intention to and that he did take his own life."

Sir Derek won the Military Cross for his service in the Second World War and after leaving the Army set up a youth club in Birkenhead.

The inquest was told how Sir Derek's wife, Christine, arrived home to see paramedics trying to resuscitate him in the driveway. Her first words were: "What has my husband done?" He leaves his wife, four sons and a daughter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate