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Pub chef inquest hears of suicide bids

PUBLISHED: 13:16 11 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:53 03 March 2010

A CHEF wrote a suicide note after mixing alcohol with medication, an inquest heard.

But a coroner recorded an open verdict on the death of Matthew Brooks after hearing of his history of erratic behaviour when drunk, including spontaneous attempts to overdose.

A CHEF wrote a suicide note after mixing alcohol with medication, an inquest heard.

But a coroner recorded an open verdict on the death of Matthew Brooks after hearing of his history of erratic behaviour when drunk, including spontaneous attempts to overdose.

Mr Brooks, 27, was head chef at the Lord Nelson pub in Ipswich. He died on March 13 after mixing wine with pills he had been prescribed by his GP for a painful hand injury.

The inquest in Ipswich yesterday heard that Mr Brooks, of Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, had a "long argument about nothing" with his girlfriend on the evening of March 12 . When his flatmate, Mark Thompson, returned home, he found him drinking and listening to music.

Mr Thompson said Mr Brooks was lying on his back next to the stereo when he left to go to work at 7.30am the next morning. He called 999 when he returned later in the day and found him in the same position, but his flatmate had died.

The hearing was told that Mr Brooks had been "very upset" by an incident at work on the day before his death,. The pub's manager had reinstated a member of staff whom the head chef had asked to leave.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Brooks's mother, Heather Hodgson, said her son had an alcohol problem and committed "impulsive acts" while drunk.

She confirmed that a note left after her son's death was in his handwriting. But she added: "I do not believe for one moment, never have done and never will, that he intended to take his life.

"He must have written the note when very drunk."

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Brooks had consumed a "high level" of alcohol and died from a drugs overdose.

Coroner Peter Dean said it was not clear that Mr Brooks knew exactly what he was doing and said the cause of the tragic death could have been "another of his impulsive acts".

Following the hearing, Mrs Hodgson and Mr Brooks's stepfather, Paul Hodgson, added: "We know this was not a premeditated act because Matthew had both short-terms and long-term plans.

"Tragically, this was an impulsive act brought about by the combination of events and the influence of alcohol.

"Matthew must not be remembered as a depressed and unhappy individual.

"He loved life to the full, always working hard and endearing himself to others with his friendly, caring and happy nature.

"He fought hard to counteract negative forces in his life which left him vulnerable to any form of rejection and which led him to use alcohol as a way of escaping the personal sadness he saw around him.

"He was a deeply loved son, stepson and brother, talented, sensitive and creative. His absence has left huge sadness in our lives."


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