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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 13:42 GMT
Depressed man suffering from vCJD
Richard Poole
Richard Poole probably caught the disease through infected meat
A fashion photographer sectioned under the Mental Health Act was actually suffering from the human form of mad cow disease, an inquest heard.

Richard Poole, 30, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, had been diagnosed with depression but died a week after doctors realised he had vCJD in 2003.

An inquest heard he probably got the disease from eating infected meat.

Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

Mr Poole, who worked as a photographer in Ardwick, Manchester, died in September 2003 at East Cheshire Hospice, Macclesfield.

My brother has died from a disease that many people think has gone away, but it has not
Richard Poole's sister, Nicola Hughes
He was diagnosed with depression after telling doctors he slept too much, had no energy, and could not concentrate.

His family said his personality began to change at Christmas 2002.

His father, John Poole, a retired printer, said: "We only became aware of his problems then, he was very low and would not talk to us."

He was given various anti-depressants before eventually being sectioned in June 2003.

His condition deteriorated and eventually he lost the ability to walk, speak and eat.

'40-year incubation period'

The coroner said: "I am satisfied that this death was as a result of the unintentional consequences of two actions.

"That of the original creation of this disease by feeding cattle products containing their own meat and that of Richard Poole's unintentional eating of the infected meat."

Mr Poole's sister, Nicola Hughes, said: "My brother has died from a disease that many people think has gone away, but it has not.

"We thought my brother was depressed, that is what the doctors told us, we had no reason to think otherwise.

"I only hope that now other people will not have to go through the same thing."

The Poole family's solicitor, David Body, who has represented more than 100 vCJD victims, said it was believed the disease had an incubation period of up to 40 years.

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