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Political cartoonist Leon Kuhn took his own life after failure of 30 year marriage

Leon Kuhn. Leon Kuhn.

Thursday, May 15, 2014
4:00 PM

A renowned political cartoonist who killed himself jumping in front of a Tube train, suffered a mental breakdown following the failure of his 30-year marriage, an inquest heard.

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Leon Kuhn, 59, was killed instantly by the train at Finchley Road Underground Station on December 19.

His brother Philip said Mr Kuhn, of Goldhurst Terrace, West Hampstead, had struggled with mental illness since the 1980s and suffered two mental breakdowns in the months before his death.

In a statement read out at St Pancras Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, he added: “His marriage was difficult as his wife was diagnosed with schizophrenia and that made things hard for both of them.

“The death of our mother in 2008 affected Leon deeply, it removed the one safe place to which he could always return.

“This was forever exacerbated when his wife left him in 2008 after 30 years of marriage. Her leaving him hit him very hard.”

Following the collapse of his marriage, Leon, who was born in Golders Green, started a new relationship and moved to Croatia so he could live with his girlfriend.

But in July, he admitted himself to a hospital in Split after suffering a breakdown. His brother’s statement read: “He had doubts about the relationship. He could not see a bright future.”

The cartoonist, who regularly contributed to left-wing tabloid The Morning Star and political magazine The New Statesman, then returned to England for treatment.

In the months that followed, Leon regularly visited his GP at the Abbey Medical Centre, in St John’s Wood, and had weekly sessions with consultant psychiatrist David Bell at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in Belsize Lane, Belsize Lane.

Dr Bell said Leon, a former pupil at Lyndhurst House School, in Lyndhurst Gardens, Hampstead and University College School (UCS), in Frognal, suffered from severe abandonment issues and was chronically anxious about his medication.

On November 9, he suffered another breakdown after his girlfriend broke off their relationship.

He was admitted him to the Capio Nightingale Hospital in Marylebone and then transferred to Highgate Mental Health Centre, in Dartmouth Park Hill, Highgate. He was discharged a week later.

With all of his doctors, Leon complained that his medication was not working quickly enough and that therapy was not helping.

Senior coroner Dr Mary Hassell concluded that he took his own life.

Related stories:

George Galloway leads tributes to ‘genius’ cartoonist killed at Finchley Road Tube station

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