Search

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

16:00 15 May 2014

Leon Kuhn.

Leon Kuhn.

Archant

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.

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

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:17
Geoffrey Lederman leaving Blackfriars Crown Court. Picture: Dieter Perry.

An 85-year-old man who lost control of his car and ploughed into a young mother has been jailed for 18 months and given a lifetime driving ban for causing death by dangerous driving.

Yesterday, 15:30
Cllr Jonathan Simpson, cabinet member for community safety, with some of the seized goods

Fake designer handbags and watches normally worth hundreds of thousands of pounds were among hundreds of items seized in a Christmas crackdown on sales of counterfeit goods in Camden and Barnet.

Yesterday, 17:00
Maria Fidelis School in North Gower Street

A Catholic secondary school is to get a new building to minimise the impact of the High Speed (HS2) rail project on children’s education.

Yesterday, 15:13
Denton Estate resident Eileen Bromwich, 77, and pupils Louise Warman, 13, Kayshen Azevedo, 13, and Adam O'Leary, 13. Picture: Polly Hancock

Teenagers delivered hampers full of food to elderly residents in a gesture of festive generosity to make sure they do not miss out on Christmas treats.

Most read news

Janey Godley was caught up in the major road incident at George Square today, and gave her testimony of what she saw.

The former QPR and Burnley player was reportedly involved in a serious incident involving a lorry in North Yorkshire.

Ringo Starr, Bette Midler, Steven Tyler and Boy George are among the many musicians paying tribute to the Sheffield singer.

People are paying tribute after the rock and blues legend Joe Cocker has passed away.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition