Coroner's verdict of suicide

July this year saw the untimely death of Hope co-founder Simon Sharp at his home in Flasby near Skipton. An inquest has just given the verdict of suicide.

Serious head injuries sustained in an accident in 2014 are attributed as a factor in Sharp’s suicide. These injuries, as well as previous concussions, have been claimed as the cause of bouts of psychotic depression which he had been treated for at Airedale Hospital.

The bouts of severe depression began earlier this year. According to North Yorkshire newspaper The Craven Herald, Mr Sharp’s mood had appeared to improve after attending therapy sessions, but negative delusional beliefs had seemed to return in the weeks before his death.

The statement given by Hope after Sharp’s death back in July reads: “In his riding career he suffered several concussions, with the most serious resulting in brain bleed and it is believed that this may have led to CTE, a degenerative brain disease that arises from concussions and is associated with impaired judgement and depression and may have contributed to his death.”

What is CTE?

It stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). It is a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had a severe blow or repeated blows to the head.

The symptoms include memory loss, social instability, erratic behaviour, poor judgement and suicidality.

CTE has been in the bike press a few times recently, most significantly with the suicide of BMX star Dave Mirra earlier this year.

Who was Simon Sharp?

Simon Sharp founded Hope with friend and business partner Ian Weatherill back in 1989.

Weatherill and Sharp were former Rolls Royce aerospace engineers who got into mountain biking in the 1980s and didn’t think the brakes very good compared to their motorbikes so they decided to make their own disc brakes.

Sharp was a very accomplished motorcycle trials rider as well as a skilled mountain biker. Earlier this year, Sharp competed in the Pre65 Scottish Two Day Motorcycle Trial followed by the Scottish Six Day Trial. Last year saw Sharp racing in several rounds of the Enduro World Series.

In their statement Hope say “Every product in Hope’s almost 30 years history has had influence and input from him” … “He was still in the factory every day keeping his watchful eye over all Hope’s product development, quietly working in the background, never seeking attention.”

He leaves his wife Alison and three children, Sam, Katherine and Heather.