A STRESSED partner at a top international law firm told a colleague he was going to kill himself the day before he threw himself under a Tube train, and inquest has heard.
David Latham, 58, a world-renowned trademark lawyer at Hogan and Lovells, hurled himself on to the tracks after weeks of sleepless nights over the fate of a big case, Westminster Coroner's Court was told this week.
The father-of-three, who colleagues had notice was 'inconsolable' with worry, told a fellow partner that he was planning to kill himself but the remark was dismissed as a 'flippant comment'.
The following morning, Mr Latham jumped off the platform in front of an early morning Central Line train at Notting Hill Gate station in west London.
His wife, Gillian Webb, told the inquest that she believes more should have been done by his employers to help Mr Latham.
She said: "If a person shows the signs as David clearly had, they should have something put in place to prevent such tragedies."
Ms Webb said Mr Latham's colleague only revealed his threat to kill himself after he had failed to show up for work the day he died. She said: "She said David came into the office and said I'm going to kill myself."
Nicholas MacFarlane, another partner at the law firm, said Mr Latham was 'perfectionist' who was beset with worries that a big case he was handling had come unstuck because of evidence problems.
He said: "He was worried the whole thing would reflect badly on him."
Mr MacFarlane said the threat to kill himself had been dismissed as a 'flippant comment', but constant efforts were made to reassure him the mistake did not matter and may not ever have been discovered.
He said: "The firm is actively looking at how to give support to stressed lawyers."
She said Mr Latham 'tossed and turned' at night for weeks, and had been on edge the night before he died during a Valentine's Day meal at Claridges. His mobile phone received a steady stream of messages throughout the evening, she said, and he knew they were from work.
"He was looking at me, like this was supposed to be a nice meal but he knew it was communications coming through."
Cambridge-educated Mr Latham left home earlier than usual last February 15 and headed to Notting Hill Gate station.
Coroner Jean Harkin ruled Mr Latham had committed suicide, after being satisfied that the balance of his mind was not affected when he died.
Mr Latham, who regularly featured in the Who's Who list of International Trademark Lawyers, was made partner of law firm Hogan and Lovells in 1988, just two years after joining, and ran the company's New York office for many years.
The firm, with headquarters in London and Washington DC, has more than 2,500 lawyers working out of 40 offices around the world.
Mr Latham, of Drayson Mews, Kensington, west London, died from multiple injuries.