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Suicide verdict on man hanged from a dog chain

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 18, 2010

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A FATHER-OF-THREE died after hanging himself with a metal dog chain, an inquest has heard.

Ian Wood, who unofficially changed his name to Martin James eight years ago, was found dead at a house in Plummer Road, Newhall, on January 20.

The 41-year-old, who lived in Bells End Road, Walton, suffered with a string of mental and physical illnesses including manic depression, a high count of blood platelets, and psychosis, along with an alcohol addiction.

Derby and South Derbyshire's assistant deputy coroner Paul McCandless heard how Mr Wood, who had previously tried to commit suicide on several occasions in the last four years, had been drinking throughout the day and seemed upbeat until his mood started deteriorating towards the evening.

He told his acquaintances he wanted to take the dog for a walk but was found not long after in a bedroom, kneeling down with the lead around his neck and the leather handle tied around the bed post.

PC Bateman, from Swadlincote Police Station, said in evidence: "Mr Wood had a number of problems and only eight months ago tried taking his own life by slashing his wrists.

"The chain was very tight around his neck and it was difficult to cut him out.

Attempts were made to save his life and paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene."

Pathologist Dr Andrew Hitchcock, who carried out the post mortem examination, said: "The findings were a complex pattern of chain marks round the neck and ears with no other significant injures.

"In the toxology report we found his liver was remarkably cirrhotic and pale and he had alcoholic liver disease.

"At the time of his death he was three times over the drink-driving limit which is a considerable amount, but by no means a lethal level."

Recording his verdict, Mr McCandless said: "Sadly he was a man who suffered mental and physical problems and had previously attempted to take his own life.

"There is no evidence of a suicide note, no other person was involved, and there were no suspicious circumstances.

"In view of these circumstances I record a verdict of death by suicide."

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Wood's devastated partner of 12 years, Katrina Clarke, tearfully told the Mail: "I dedicated most of my life to him. He will be greatly missed by his three boys, all of his family and his friends.

"He was a really good guy, he just had problems that weren't easy to fix. Having mental health problems is not like breaking your arm; it is much deeper than that.

"Deep down I know he loved me and he was my world. He is and always will be in my heart. I will just try and remember the good times now."

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