THE WIFE of missing Swanage man Gerry Turner has spoken out about what life is like for those living with the rare condition which caused him to go missing on March 4 from his home in Church Hill.

Jane Pierette Turner described how her husband, who also has Type 1 diabetes, refused to eat, because he fell prey to the horrific delusions and hallucinations caused by Dementia with Lewy bodies – deposits of protein in his nerve cells.

The disease – the same one suffered by the actor Robin Williams when he took his own life in 2014 - is frequently described as dementia but, says Jane, it is different as those who suffer it are often acutely aware something is wrong.

“It’s not like someone who becomes forgetful and then goes into their own world,” she says. “Gerry isn’t like that, he had a better memory than me, loved football, knew all the scores, that kind of thing.

“I can only describe it as like having a devil on your back. Gerry saw what he called these symbols, and he said they were telling him what to do – one of the things they told him was not to eat. If he did he would say he could see the food coming out of his hands.”

Jane, a former model and classroom assistant, who has known her husband for 18 years, saw troubling changes in his behaviour around five years ago.

“He was a great gardener, it was his business, and I’d see him go to plant something, perhaps, and then see him turn the other way without doing it.

“He’d then think he’d done it and he hadn’t, he’d get confused and upset and say ‘It’s still there’.”

With hindsight, she says, she wonders why she didn’t notice Gerry’s increasingly erratic behaviour. “But he’d lost his dog and we put it down to depression at first,” she says.

Because of his diabetes – which meant Jane had to give him four injections a day – he gave up work but his illness was only diagnosed last July after he entered hospital because of his eating difficulties.

“It was like an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kind of thing, he had to do things in a certain order but I think it was his way of trying to control what was happening to him,” she says.

Because there is no effective medication for Lewy Body, Gerry was monitored while he received unlicensed drugs. However, says Jane, he still became aggressive towards himself and suffered appalling anxiety.

“His anxiety about everything literally made the house shake,” she says, explaining that the only reason she has coped is because of the support of her 22-year-old son, Charlie.

Sadly, she does not believe her husband is still alive, not because of the Lewy Bodies but because of his diabetes – he left the house without the insulin he needs to keep him alive.

“I just want him found and to make something positive out of this horrendous disaster for Gerry,” she says. “If me speaking out can help other people who are struggling that would be good. The money doesn’t seem to be there for research into these things but it should be.”