'I went to a very dark space': Noel Edmonds on his suicide attempt over ruin of business empire

Noel Edmonds speaks to ITV News Credit: ITV News

Entertainer Noel Edmonds has opened up to ITV News about how he attempted suicide 12 years ago when his business empire lay in ruins.

"The only way I can describe it, is it's the darkest space that the human mind ever occupies," the 68-year-old explained.

"You see nothing.

"I mean I had four daughters, I had a wife, I had mates, I saw nothing in that dark space.

"I wrote a letter to my now ex-wife explaining as best I could why I'd reached the end and I recorded little dictaphone messages to my daughters basically saying goodbye."

Edmonds claims he reached his low following the "destruction" of his former business Unique Group at the hands of corrupt ex-HBOS bankers.

He claims he was the victim of a rogue group of bankers inside HBOS group, some of who are now in prison for their fraudulent activities.

Records show between 2002 and 2005 his business debts bloomed from £750,000 to more than £4 million, and that in 2007 Unique Group went into receivership with debts of £3 million in 2007.

In legal correspondence, the 68-year-old entertainer blames Unique Group's collapse on now-jailed former HBOS employee Mark Dobson.

Damage to Edmonds' business reputation and resulting loss of income from motivational speaking work are covered in the claim.

Edmonds claims Mark Dobson effectively drove his media business into the ground before asset-stripping it for his own personal gain.

He accuses Dobson of blocking the sales of shares in the firm and colluding with fellow convicts David Mills and Mills' wife Alison to force the business over to Mills' turnaround consultancy Quayside.

Top row (left to right): David Mills, Alison Mills, Lynden Scoufield. Bottom row: Mark Dobson, Michael Bancroft, John Cartwright.

"My businesses were actually sound, I was moving towards creating as much value as possible, so, yes, I was borrowing money, the books maybe didn't look brilliant, but when you see the strategy of building the value, if Dobson hadn't taken his action, we would have grown and grown in value."

He is now claiming £300 million in compensation from Lloyds - who took over HBOS in 2009.

"They stole my companies, they stole my home, they stole my family, they stole my livelihood, they nearly stole my life," Edmonds claims.

"I want return of my stolen goods plus damages."

In an interview with ITV News, Edmonds also asks: "When Lloyds took over HBOS in 2009... How much did Lloyds know?"

Lloyds has said it is cooperating fully with an independent review: "The Group is determined to get to the bottom of what went on, and a thorough investigation is being conducted."

They added that the fraud affected less than 70 business customers, and that they have made compensation offers to nearly half of them and has set aside £100 million for the claims.

Lloyds said it is 'determined' to get to the bottom of what went on. Credit: ITV News

Edmonds says he is now speaking out to "highlight if it can happen to me, it can happen to you, it can happen to anyone who wants to set up their own business.

"We've got to look at this and we've got to go: 'This is not a way in a civilised society to treat honest people going about honest business.'

"I really hope I can help other people.

"I want my stolen goods back.

"I want to be able to get on with my life and restore my reputation."

Edmonds claims that it was his hit game show Deal Or No Deal which "came along and saved me", due to its success.

Earlier in 2017 the corrupt bankers were jailed for their scam, which ran over five years from 2002, and saw them siphon £245 million from small and struggling businesses to fund luxury holidays, prostitutes and designer clothes.

Many of the businesses went bankrupt as a result and some of the owners lost their homes.

Dobson, from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, was found guilty of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to conceal criminal property, and jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Alongside Dobson, HBOS employees Michael Bancroft, 73, was jailed for 10 years and John Cartwright, 72, for three-and-a-half years for their various roles in the fraud between 2003 and 2007.

While consultant David Mills, 60, who bribed former HBOS manager Lynden Scourfield, 54, with designer watches, sex parties and "boys' jollies" was jailed for 15 years.

Scourfield received 11 years and three months.

Mills's wife Alison, 51, also played a major role in the corruption and was sentenced to three and a half years.