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Man left letter to family in days prior to death near Downham Market, inquest told

A 62-year-old man from Walton Highway was found unresponsive in his car after leaving a note to his family saying he had “let them down”, an inquest has heard.

Norfolk Coroner’s Court was told on Wednesday that in the days leading up to builder Stephen Thompson’s death on November 23 last year, he had been displaying unusual behaviour.

Mr Thompson’s wife Denise, said, in a statement read to the court, that on November 19 her husband had left her a letter which was “upsetting and confusing to read”.

Inquest report (35438764)
Inquest report (35438764)

She said: “He spoke about feeling like he had let me and the family down, and said it was the end of the road for him.”

However, she said he later returned and told their son Ben that there were “people after him and he couldn’t get away from them”.

He also said he believed his phone had been hacked.

The inquest was told that his family attempted to reassure him that things were OK, and Ben made him a GP appointment for November 21.

The court heard that Mr Thompson was prescribed anti-depressants and was advised of wellbeing services as well as support groups.

However, Mrs Thompson said on the morning of November 22, her husband said he was going to a shop, but he did not return.

When he could not be found, his family reported him as missing to the police.

“The police and the children searched for him throughout the night,” Mrs Thompson said.

“Nobody slept or rested, and I remained at home in case he returned.”

In a statement read to the court, PC Stuart Fisher said he had found Mr Thompson in his vehicle in Tottenhill on November 23.

He said although there were attempts to revive him, paramedics declared him to be deceased.

PC Fisher said he seized packets of medication from the car.

Senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake, in summing up the evidence, said Mr Thompson had been acting in a “terrified manner”, prompting his family to raise concerns regarding his mental health.

She said his medical cause of death was as a result of fatal pain killer poisoning.

Mrs Lake: “He had in the days prior to his death expressed some suicidal ideation. He was clearly acting in a worried and upset manner, and I’m satisfied that he intended to take his own life.”

She gave a conclusion of suicide.

If you need help or advice, contact Samaritans for free on 116 123.

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