Jeremy Kyle: more TV show guests killed themselves, it emerges
A woman who was a guest on a chat show hosted by Jeremy Kyle in 2005 took her life six days after her appearance, it has emerged.
Erica Pawson, 36, killed herself after her husband followed Kyle’s advice and ended their 18-year marriage.
The news comes after Kyle’s ITV show was axed in response to the death of a participant days after he took part in a recording this month.
Paul Pawson, now 54, from Louth in Lincolnshire, said Kyle had repeatedly encouraged him to leave his wife on a Channel 5 programme called Britain’s Worst Husband, which Kyle hosted before he joined ITV.
“As far as I’m concerned, he destroyed mine and my daughter’s life,” he told the Sun. “He’s very aggressive to people he doesn’t know. He shouldn’t be like that. He’s very full-on and in-your-face.”
But at the time her father, Eric Massey, said: “I don’t blame the show. It was all happening before she went on it.”
It emerged on Sunday that another man, the former boxer Paul McCarthy, had killed himself three months after appearing on Kyle’s ITV show in 2014.
On Wednesday, bosses permanently axed the show after Stephen Dymond was found dead days after the recording of an episode in which he failed a lie detector test. Dymond, 63, had appeared on the show accused of infidelity by his fiancee, who later broke up with him.
Paul Pawson criticised producers for not taking the same actions after Erica Pawson’s death in October 2005. “Why didn’t they suspend the programme when my wife died? We never got counselling. We didn’t get anything,” he said. “My daughter has had to see a specialist counsellor because of what happened.”
According to Pawson, neither he nor his wife were subject to mental health checks before they went on the show, despite the fact that Erica Pawson had suffered from depression and had previously taken overdoses.
They were also not asked if they were taking medication, said Pawson, who added that his wife had been taking strong painkillers for osteoporosis at the time. He said neither of them were psychologically screened.
Paul Pawson claimed that during the show, the audience had yelled approval as Kyle urged him to leave his wife. “He told me to leave Erica so I shook his hand and promised to leave the family home, which I did,” he said. “At the end of the day, he ruined my wife’s life. She killed herself.”
Though Pawson admitted having previously had affairs, he had gone on the show in an effort to prove he had since been faithful. He failed a lie-detector test and was accused of being a bad husband by Kyle.
After filming on 7 October 2005, he moved out of the family’s home. Erica Pawson was later found dead from an overdose of prescription painkillers.
The couple had previously appeared on an episode of the BBC daytime chat show Kilroy called Affairs in the Family.
An inquest into the death returned a verdict of suicide. The coroner, Stuart Fisher, said: “The couple had serious marital difficulties. I suspect these contributed.”
The father of 31-year-old McCarthy called the show a disgrace. Kevin McCarthy, 62, told the Sunday Mirror his son had died after being kicked off a rehabilitation programme provided by Kyle.
On Saturday, a spokesman for The Jeremy Kyle Show said: “ITV has many years’ experience of broadcasting and creating programmes featuring members of the public and each of our productions has duty of care measures in place for contributors.
“These will be dependent on the type of show and will be proportionate for the level of activity of each contributor and upon the individual. All of our processes are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are fit for purpose in an ever-changing landscape.
“The programme has significant and detailed duty of care processes in place for contributors pre-, during and post-show which have been built up over 14 years, and there have been numerous positive outcomes from this, including people who have resolved complex and longstanding personal problems.”
• In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org