Noel Edmonds came close to taking his own life after falling victim to financial fraud, the Deal Or No Deal star has revealed as he continues to seek compensation from Lloyds Banking Group.
Speaking to the Press Association, Noel said he was taken “to the brink of emotional annihilation” after a group of corrupt HBOS financiers helped destroy his former business Unique Group.
The TV star said: “Until these criminals took me to the brink of emotional annihilation, I had always felt those who opt out by taking their own lives were selfish and cowardly.
“But having been cast into that bottomless dark space devoid of logic and reason, I have a much deeper understanding of life without hope.
“I seek no sympathy and feel no shame in admitting that on the evening of January 18 2005 I attempted to end the overwhelming mental pain which had consumed my whole being.
“The fact that I did not become another suicide statistic is solely due to the swift response of a Devon ambulance crew and the compassionate support of the Priory in Bristol.”
The former HBOS financiers were jailed earlier this year for carrying out a £245 million loans scam that destroyed several businesses, including that of Noel’s, before they squandered the profits on high-end prostitutes and luxury holidays.
Lloyds, which rescued HBOS during the financial crisis, said in April it would begin making compensation offers to fraud victims in May from a £100 million pot, with payments expected to begin in June.
However, Noel has repeatedly urged Lloyds to speed up the process after launching a £50 million-plus compensation claim against the lender.
He has even gone as far as to set up a website – www.banklloyds.claims – as part of his campaign, which also references Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio’s “well-publicised mental breakdown” in 2011.
Noel has asked several times for a personal meeting with Horta-Osorio but claims his requests have gone unanswered.
Noel added that, since coming back from the brink of suicide, he has gone on to donate generously to third sector organisations.
“Subsequently I have donated generously and gratefully to The Samaritans and privately I use my experience to comfort and support others for whom life has no hope.
“Please be kind, don’t be judgemental – life without hope is no life,” he said.
Lloyds has said that its compensation programme is “on track” and the lender has started making payments to some of those affected.
A spokesman for Lloyds Banking Group said: “Our customers’ safety is of paramount importance to us.
“We have a clear policy that if a customer says that they are considering taking their own life that we must take the statement seriously and take action to protect them.
“In such instances, police are notified and, where possible, provided with the customer’s location in order that they can go to the customer and ensure their safety.”