Suicidal gambler rejected friends' pleas to seek help

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 October, 1997, 12:00am

Professional gambler Robert Moore, found dead in his flat on Saturday, had rejected friends' pleas that he seek help for his depression, they revealed yesterday.

He had escaped from hospital after an earlier suicide attempt, they said.

Bruce Ridgway, who was with the colourful 44-year-old New Zealander when he tried to commit suicide last Monday, said he had manipulated doctors to get sleeping pills. He had refused advice from friends and medical emergency services that he needed surveillance.

'There were 16 police and ambulance officers in the room, with the psychiatrist and myself all trying to talk Bob into going to the hospital,' Mr Ridgway said.

'But he didn't want to go. He was completely of the opinion that it didn't matter what the hospital did for him, it was up to a person to decide what he was going to do.

'He has always been in control of his destiny - he arrived in Hong Kong with virtually nothing and made a fortune.' Moore had also attempted suicide on Wednesday. He was found dead in his Happy Valley flat on Saturday after apparently swallowing 10 bags of sleeping pills and turning on his gas cooker. He had tipped two winning horses the same day.

His estranged wife Joane Chua will identify the body this morning while his mother Ngaire, a close friend and possibly his brother fly in from New Zealand today.

Mr Ridgway, a friend of 20 years and namesake of Moore's bar in Wan Chai, said the gambler had been seeing a psychiatrist after going to Ruttonjee Hospital in extreme despair last week.

It had taken several police officers to restrain the burly 1.8-metre-tall man and he eventually escaped to his flat where he received treatment to help him sleep.

The depression continued and friends were unable to convince him to seek surveillance.

He gave millions of dollars away 'to anybody who asked' and host all-expenses-paid parties overseas even as his multi-million-dollar stash dwindled.

One friend who did not want to be named said Moore was often misunderstood because of his mood swings, which were due to a medical condition. 'He was ill, he was a very complicated man. It is extremely sad,' he said.