Jeremy Kyle may have ‘contributed to’ guest Steve Dymond’s death, inquest hears
Jeremy Kyle has been declared an "interested party" at an inquest into the suspected suicide of a guest on his show after a coroner ruled the presenter's actions may have "caused or contributed" to his death.
Construction worker Steve Dymond said the presenter got "in his face", jeered him and called him a failure after he failed a lie detector test on the axed show.
He collapsed in tears afterwards, slumped to his hands and knees fearing he was going to pass out, tried to flee the studio to escape the audiences' boos and said he wished he was dead.
In a 15-minute phone call to his brother on the way home he said he wanted to leap out of the taxi or take a morphine overdose.
At a pre-inquest hearing in Winchester, Hampshire, coroner Jason Pegg said he had declared Kyle an "interested party" because evidence suggested his actions "may have caused or contributed to the death".
Kyle is represented by Neil Sheldon QC at the hearing.
The inquest has heard previously Mr Dymond went on the show despite a doctor ruling he had a "concrete plan" to kill himself.
Six weeks before he appeared he was referred to an acute mental health team by his GP who judged he had "recurrent" suicidal thoughts and there was a "real and immediate risk" to his life.
He had twice previously taken overdoses and medics ruled he had a "borderline personality disorder" following the break-up of his relationship with fiancée Jane Callaghan, 48.
But he was still allowed on The Jeremy Kyle Show where he took a lie detector test in the hope it would convince Jane he had not cheated on her.
When it showed he was lying he collapsed sobbing to the studio floor and after filming finished told a researcher he was "really upset" and "life's nothing without Jane".
Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, representing Steve's family, has claimed the show failed to adequately safeguard "vulnerable" Steve and "public confidence" had been rocked by the scandal.
"Mr Dymond was extremely distressed by his experience at The Jeremy Kyle Show, a programme which has been described by a judge when sentencing a former contestant as 'human bear-baiting','' she said.
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"Following his death the show was axed and widespread concerns were raised regarding the format of the show, its selection and treatment of participants, and aftercare.''
The family wants the coroner to conduct a jury inquest to examine in detail Steve's care in the seven-week period leading up to his death.
"It is clear from the records that at this time Mr Dymond had suicidal ideation, his suicidal thoughts were recurrent and they were accompanied by a concrete plan as to how to do it,'' she said.
Referring him for acute mental health care his GP said Steve had a "history of overdosing in 1995 and 2002" and had been "depressed for four to six weeks, split up with his partner, currently living in a B&B, not eating, not sleeping" with "suicidal thoughts".
But the acute team in turn referred him to a community mental health unit and there had been "no evidence" his case had been followed up.
Ms Gallagher told the hearing before he went on the show Mr Dymond had "suicidal thoughts" and a "concrete plan on how to do it".
After his appearance she said one member of Kyle's backroom team sent a WhatsApp message to another saying Mr Dymond was "still crying", adding: "He just said: 'I want to die'.''
Ms Gallagher said afterwards on "multiple" occasions Mr Dymond said he found his experience on the show "horrendous".
Mr Dymond said he was "disgusted" by the way Kyle had spoken to him on the show.
In one suicide note he said he had "pushed and pushed" to go on the show to "prove" to his partner he had not cheated.
But he said it "all went wrong because I lied in my lead up questions".
"I was ashamed of my past and I just wanted to leave it all behind,'' he wrote.
Mr Sheldon said it was a "matter of fact" that Mr Dymond found his experience on the show upsetting.
He said it was not necessary for the coroner to call the individual employees of ITV involved as witnesses to establish that.
The coroner said it would seem "ludicrous to me not to give Mr Kyle the opportunity" to respond to witness accounts of Mr Dymond's criticism of him.
A pre-inquest hearing into Steve Dymond's death heard that the 63-year-old had died of a morphine overdose and heart problems.
His death came seven days after he filmed a segment for The Jeremy Kyle Show, which was axed following his passing.
The pre-inquest hearing took place in July this year, however it was cut short due to technical issues.
During it, coroner Jason Pegg told the court: "He died at his home address in Portsmouth. The medical cause of death given is an overdose of morphine and left ventricular hypertrophy."
The inquest into Steve's death had originally been scheduled for April 27, 2020 but was pushed back due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Steve was found dead on May 9, 2019 after he took a lie detector test on the defunct ITV show.
It was believed that he took an overdose after he failed the lie detector test in relation to questions about whether he had cheated on his on-off fiancée Jane Callaghan.
The episode on which Steve appeared never aired after ITV bosses cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, said in a statement: "Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
"The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.
"Everyone at ITV's thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond."
- Jeremy Kyle
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