Just two hours before police took Tony Veitch back to Hamilton's central police station for treatment yesterday after his latest suicide bid, the shamed broadcaster sent a desperate text message to Sunday News.
"I am done," Veitch said in the text to sports editor John Matheson at 1.01pm.
"This has now totally destroyed me.
"I can't do this anymore."
Veitch begged Sunday News to publish an email he had sent to Kristin Dunne-Powell in November 2006 which stated his desire for his ex-partner to have a happy and successful life.
A family friend told Sunday News last night Veitch had been left distraught that many commentators and talkback callers had questioned his levels of remorse since his Auckland District Court appearance on Thursday.
He pleaded guilty to assault with reckless disregard causing injury, and was sentenced to 300 hours' community service and fined $10,000. Six other assault charges were dropped.
Veitch wanted the email which he refers to in the text as "my final statement" published in full by Sunday News.
On Thursday night Dunne-Powell told TV3 Veitch hadn't shown any remorse after he attacked her in January 2006.
She said she wanted Veitch to say sorry. Veitch contends as per the November 2006 email he has apologised.
It all became too much for him at about 12.30pm yesterday when he left his Remuera, Auckland, home in his car.
"He went into a severe depression in the morning as a result of all the media saying he is not remorseful," a friend told Sunday News.
"He went into a panic attack and disappeared.
"The family were very concerned about his state. We called the police to find him and he was found about four hours later at Ngaruawahia."
Police sources last night said that at 1.42pm officers picked up a Vodafone signal from his phone at Brownlee Avenue in Ngaruawahia.
Half a dozen police cars were sent to the area to search for him. A police helicopter was also on standby at Hamilton Race Course to join in the search.
By about 3.15 a drowsy Veitch was spotted driving in the opposite direction of a police unit.
He was pulled over and taken to Hamilton Police Station. After receiving some treatment he was driven back to Auckland, returning home just before 7pm.
Last night, Veitch's distraught wife Zoe issued a plea for the media and public to "back off" her husband.
"The inordinate amount of stress on Tony would devastate anybody, let alone someone who is suffering from extreme depression and suicidal thoughts," she said.
"It has now reached a level where it is intolerable and now I am begging that both the media and the public back off.
"Enough is enough. Please let us at least attempt to move on and get Tony well."
Veitch was last night in the care of family.
Yesterday's suicide attempt is the third known time Veitch has tried to take his life.
In a letter to the judge overseeing his case, Zoe said there were at least another five times when she feared for his life.
The first attempt came in September last year when Sunday News reported Veitch was rushed by helicopter from a remote Northland farm to Auckland Hospital after police were forced to smash into his car to free him.
And then in January this year, he was rushed to Thames Hospital after going missing late at night in Pauanui on the Coromandel coast.
Police discovered the ex-broadcaster in a "distressed state" among sand dunes and a paramedic found he had taken an overdose of tablets.
- © Fairfax NZ News