Gaywood: Lab worker took lethal cyanide dose

A LABORATORY technician made a special order of deadly chemical cyanide at work and used it to kill himself.

Peter Stoker (22) closed down his page on Internet social networking site Facebook in the run-up to his death and then his web-based instant messaging account with the words "carpe diem (Latin for seize the day) because tomorrow we will be dead", an inquest heard on Monday.

The Bespak worker was found collapsed on a bench in Reffley Woods by dog walker David Aiken on October 22 last year and died in hospital a month-and-a-half later, on December 11, from pneumonia and brain damage brought on by the chemical.

Mr Stoker's colleague Aimee Petch told the hearing she had received what she had thought to be a relatively routine email around the third week of September to say some chemicals were awaiting collection and when she discussed it with Mr Stoker he said he had already picked the chemicals up.

At the time she thought nothing of it, but in hindsight realised Mr Stoker had been a little protective of the item.

It later turned out he had bypassed company safeguards which only allowed certain employees to hold a company credit card to order dangerous chemicals by paying for it on his own personal card, the hearing was told.

Bespak has since reviewed its procedures but decided they should not be changed as staff must continue to have trust placed in them, the inquest heard.

Mr Stoker, of Blackford, Templemead, Reffley Estate, Gaywood, had been prescribed anti-depressants by his GP three months before he died after complaining of feeling low, lacking concentration and being unable to sleep after dropping out of university, the hearing at Lynn's County Court was told.

The anti-depressant had a known potential side effect of leading to suicidal thoughts, but on the last occasion his GP – Dr Ehdego Adalgo, a GP at Fairstead and North Lynn doctors' surgeries – saw him, in August, Mr Stoker appeared positive and happy, the inquest heard.

A suicide note was uncovered, saying: "I have felt too bad for too long to care about being alive any more.

"I feel so spaced out it is more like living in a dream than the real world."

Greater Norfolk coroner Mr William Armstrong recorded a verdict of suicide.