Coroner rules man’s death was suicide

PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 October 2015

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter.

Archant

An Exmouth man, who was found dead following a police search, committed suicide, an inquest has heard.

Robin Hockings, who was 62, was a painter and decorator who lived in Capel Lane.

The inquest, at County Hall, Exeter, heard that Mr Hockings was found dead on April 22 this year, following a missing person search, which began when a friend received a text message from Mr Hockings, which indicated that he might be feeling suicidal.

Police were called at 1.32pm, and began contacting Mr Hockings’ friends and visiting places where he may have gone.

One property they visited was a building which contained a first-floor flat in Morton Road, which was for sale, and for which Mr Hockings had been attempting to find a buyer on behalf of the owner.

The occupant of the building’s ground-floor flat allowed police officers into her garden, from which they could see the windows of the first-floor flat, which were closed.

The downstairs resident said she had not seen or heard anyone coming or going, and police moved on, but later that day received a call from the resident saying she had noticed the windows were now open.

Police returned to the flat, forced entry and found Mr Hockings hanged in the kitchen, with death confirmed at 10.56pm.

The inquest was told that Mr Hockings had left his personal possessions neatly arranged in the flat.

A post-mortem examination found a blood-alcohol level of 87mg per 100ml – just over the drink-driving limit of 80mg.

However, Lydia Brown, assistant coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon, said that she did not believe this was evidence of impairment.

Concluding the inquest, she said: “From the post-mortem evidence and the scene reported today, I have no doubt in my mind that Mr Hockings did take his own life.

“I record a conclusion of suicide.”

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