Man's death was suicide, inquest

THE family of a Soham man has told an inquest that his suicide could have been a cry for help that went tragically wrong.

Kevin Allen-Thomas, 31, was found hanged in the conservatory of his home in Mereside on April 25. But his stepfather, Edwin Allen, said that because post-mortem photographs had shown his stepson's feet were still on the floor when he died, he may just have been trying to make rope burns on his neck.

He said his stepson, who had been treated for depression, had self-harmed before by cutting his arms and had said he was going to put marks around his neck.

"He could have put the rope round his neck for attention, not to take his own life, but it went wrong," said Mr Allen.

Mother Jane Allen said her son's life was chaotic. "He had big problems with alcohol, cocaine and cannabis and had horrendous debts," she told the inquest.

Mr Allen-Thomas had also been suspended from his job and was facing eviction from his home.

His live-in partner, Rebecca Carter, had left him and gone to live in a hostel. But she told the hearing they had been reconciled and he had proposed to her.

She said the night before his body was discovered she had been trying to get in touch to tell him she was pregnant.

"I spoke to Kevin on Wednesday and Thursday morning and was planning to go to see him for the weekend," she said. "I had found out that I was pregnant – it was the news we had been wanting to hear – but he never answered his phone."

A police search of Mr Allen-Thomas's home did not find any suicide notes. His father, Brian Thomas, had arranged to meet him on the day he died.

His cousin, Lisa Rule, of Melford Close, Burwell, said he had told her that he once deliberately drove his car into a ditch. "I took it as a cry for help on his part," said Miss Rule.

"He told me he had had enough and did not want to be here but at no stage did Kevin say to me that he wanted to take his own life. This may have been a further cry for help."

But recording a verdict of suicide, north and east Cambridgeshire coroner William Morris said the position Mr Allen Thomas was found in could be interpreted another way.

"The fact he was able to touch the ground with his feet meant it would have been easy to stop himself," said Mr Morris, who added that if his action had been intended as a cry for help there had to have been some realistic prospect of intervention.

"He was a very vulnerable individual and in a situation where he might have done something stupid and regrettable.

"He was clearly having a bad time of things. This is a very sad matter."