Poet found dead with final work

A DEPRESSED poet died in an accident at his home in Little Glemham as he prepared to take his own life, an inquest heard.Retired civil servant Roy Blackman, 59, of Church Road, Little Glemham, near Saxmundham, who co-edited a highly regarded poetry magazine, was found dead at his home in November.

A DEPRESSED poet died in an accident at his home in Little Glemham as he prepared to take his own life, an inquest heard.

Retired civil servant Roy Blackman, 59, of Church Road, Little Glemham, near Saxmundham, who co-edited a highly regarded poetry magazine, was found dead at his home in November.

He was lying on the floor with his face down and blood was coming from his mouth and nose, the inquest, held at Lowestoft, heard yesterday.

A note pinned to a door read: "Poem. Don't go upstairs. Phone the police. Please feed the cat."

Close to his feet was a small stool and above it was a hatchway to the loft. In the loft opening was an iron bar with a rope hanging down, it was told.

Pills were found at his home, as well as a bottle of rum, but toxicology reports showed that drugs or alcohol had not been a factor. There were also no marks around his neck to indicate that he had hanged himself.

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A post-mortem examination showed he had fallen on his head and suffered aspiration pneumonitis and inhaled vomit.

Coroner George Leguen de Lacroix said he had "no alternative" than to record a verdict that Mr Blackman's death was due to an accident "because he certainly did not take his own life."

"It is apparent that Mr Blackman has had problems of depression all his life really and certainly since his teen age," he said.

"He has been on drugs of one sort or another for something over 40 years. Some of them have had a limited success, but nothing of any permanence.

"I think it is clear from the statements, that bearing in mind the medical report, that Mr Blackman was taking steps to take his own life but in the events that happened for some reason he presumably lost his balance on the ladder and fell and fell on his head."

The alarm was raised by Mr Blackman's friends.

The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival has included a tribute to Mr Blackman on its website. Next to a photograph of him in his trademark rainbow jumper, it reads: "With grateful thanks for all his work for the Aldeburgh Poetry Trust and in loving memory of his long involvement with the festival". The tribute also includes one of his poems.

Mr Blackman who originally trained as a scientist, had a doctorate from Newcastle University. He spent 21 years in marine pollution protection before turning to poetry. His first collection, As Lords Expected, was published by Rockingham Press in 1996. He was honorary secretary of the Aldeburgh Poetry Trust.

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