Former broadcaster Tony Veitch was last night recovering after being airlifted to hospital following a suicide bid.
Sunday News can exclusively reveal the ex-TV and radio star was rushed by helicopter from a remote Northland farm to Auckland Hospital on Friday afternoon after he tried to gas himself in a car.
Sources close to Veitch said two hours earlier his wife Zoe Halford received a telephone call from him saying he planned to leave Auckland and take his life.
“He had had enough … that was his message to her,” one well-placed source said.
I’m not about to lambast those who feel so low they wish to remove themselves from this earth. I personally think it’s a mostly selfish act, but I do have sympathy for anyone who feels that desperately unhappy they see no other alternative but to end their life.
I have never been in Veitch’s position. I am not a recognised name from television and radio, I have never experienced the stress of a legal case progressing against me for repeated domestic violence against my ex-partner, and it all being played out in public.
I can, however, make some observations in question form and then bullet point them in a pretty, easy to read manner:
- Isn’t it Suicide 101, if you really want to go through with it, to ensure noone can get to you until the deed is done? Isn’t this why leaving a letter with final messages to loved ones is more common than a traceable mobile phone call?
- With the Ministry of Health recommendations advising New Zealand media to “take particular care” when reporting celebrity suicide attempts, isn’t it just a little strange that Veitch’s attempt made our Sunday papers? It only happened 36 hours ago!** I don’t want our media to withhold stories from us, but on the other hand, I sort of expect some things to not make the papers, or to be released at a later date. I guess I would’ve expected that Tony’s suicide attempt be covered up, for as long as possible, by those closest to him. I wouldn’t have predicted they would release press statements about it, or that the papers would headline with ‘Veitch in suicide bid’.***
- Am I alone in thinking it’s poor taste, regardless of Tony’s apparent troubles, when sources close to him tell the Sunday News: “I hope … the people who have put Tony in this position are happy”? Who the hell are they talking about? Is this a dig at Veitch’s ex-partner, or a stab at the media and the public for our supposed part in his downfall? Who did put Tony in this position? Who left him alone in deepest, darkest Mangawhai anyway? Jeesh, I hope it’s not a dig at Tony’s Dad who is rushing home to Tony’s bedside, um, as soon as he finishes his holiday in Fiji.
- Is this a cry for help from a man filled with deep remorse for his past actions, or a calculated manipulation of the media to play on the public’s sympathy? Here’s what Kiwi forum-stalkers think.
- Have I become so cynical and mistrusting of our media that I question every aspect of their articles? The questions above are just a snippet of discussions this morning with the cat over Veitch’s suicide attempt. The cat was tres impolite about it all. I, meanwhile, feel so sorry for newlywed Zoe Veitch.
I hope Tony gets help, and I still maintain that he needs to lose his PR peops. Maybe he should call up his support team, get some fresh advice. What would Paul Holmes do?
* I actually had forseen this unfortunate event, but didn’t want to be the one who said “suicide watch” aloud. And, no – I’m not psychic. I predicted a drug overdose, who the hell goes to the trouble of gassing themselves, these days? Ahem.
** NZ Herald story published at 4am Sunday, 7th Sept.
*** Stuff headline published early morning Sunday, 7th Sept. Since edited to read ‘Veitch hospitalised after fears for his safety’. All references to the attempt to kill himself by gas are removed, apart from this unfortunate hint on the front page.