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'Murder' victim may have stabbed himself

PUBLISHED: 12:08 10 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

FRIENDS have spoken of their shock at the death of a former Felixstowe man who was found in his flat with a knife wound in his chest.

Cal Erlam, 29, son of a former doctor and councillor, was found half-naked in a pool of blood at his home and at first detectives thought he might have been murdered.

FRIENDS have spoken of their shock at the death of a former Felixstowe man who was found in his flat with a knife wound in his chest.

Cal Erlam, 29, son of a former doctor and councillor, was found half-naked in a pool of blood at his home and at first detectives thought he might have been murdered.

An incident room was set up and the death was treated as suspicious until forensic

evidence indicated that the wound with a kitchen knife was probably self-inflicted and

no-one else was involved.

Cal Erlam was known in Felixstowe, where he grew up and went to the town's Deben High School, as Mark Erlam.

He is understood to have changed his name a few years ago after leaving the town to start a new life in Sussex, but it is not known why he changed it. His father was Dr Tony Erlam, who practised at Central Surgery in Hamilton Road for more than a decade before going into private practice as a consultant, also working in health matters in industry.

Cal's mother, Susan, worked as a technician at Deben High School and was active in the local government union NALGO.

In 1991 she was elected as a town and district councillor to serve the west ward, but two years later she resigned her seat to move down to Sussex.

Now retired, the couple, who lived in Princes Road, Felixstowe, currently live in Burgess Hill, Sussex.

They also have a daughter, Melanie, who attended Felixstowe College.

The family are said to be devastated by the news.

A friend of the family said: "We knew the Erlams well when they lived in Felixstowe and they were always very interested in the community and worked hard for the town. This will be

heartbreaking to them.

"It is such a shock and a dreadful thing to happen. Mark was a lovely child and he was just a teenager when he left the town."

Cal, who was born in Germany in British Forces accommodation, had lived in Brighton for more than a decade.

An inquest opened into his death yesterday but no date has yet been fixed for a full hearing.

Police have now ruled out crime in connection with the death of Cal, who was found in his basement flat in Milner Road, Brighton, on June 25 after worried neighbours raised the alarm because they had not seen him for some time.

His flat was tidy and there were no outwards signs to suggest a struggle or fight had taken place. An extensive police inquiry was launched and dozens of people were interviewed.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Dennis, leading the inquiry, said: "This is a tragic case. Following numerous inquiries with a team of 30 officers and leading professionals we are satisfied this is not a case of murder."

One friend said he believed Cal had suffered from mental health problems which were being treated with medication.

Neighbours described him "a really nice chap, very friendly" and polite.

Former flatmate Luke Tennant said he was an "outgoing and intelligent man" who loved dance music and debating issues and ideas. He also enjoyed going out to pubs and clubs. He struggled to hold down a job but was "very keen to work".

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