Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sir Nicholas Wall, once Britain's top family law judge, commits suicide after dementia diagnosis

From The Telegraph:

Sir Nicholas Wall, formerly Britain's most senior family law judge, has committed suicide after being diagnosed with dementia, his family has announced.

Sir Nicholas, 71, was appointed President of the Family Division in 2010, but had to retire on health grounds in 2012. He was initially diagnosed with depression, before recently finding out he had dementia.

His family placed a notice in today's Times newspaper which said he had "died by his own hand on 17th February 2017".

It added: "After years of suffering, he was recently diagnosed with a rare dementia of the fronto-temporal lobe."

The death notice included a verse from Tennyson's poem Tithonus: "The woods decay, the woods decay and fall/ The vapours weep their burthen to the ground/ Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath/ And after many a summer dies the swan."

Later, the family released a statement which said: "We are sad to confirm the death of Sir Nicholas Wall, who was not only a highly-respected former President of the Family Division but also a much-loved husband, father and grandfather.

"Sir Nicholas took his own life having suffered for several years from a rare neurological disease called fronto-temporal lobe dementia that had only recently been diagnosed."

Sir Nicholas was found dead in Sevenoaks, Kent in the early hours of last Friday. Kent Police attended the scene and asked the Metropolitan Police to inform his wife Margaret at the family home in Clapham, south London. His death was described as "non-suspicious".

Read more here.

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