Suffolk man stabbed himself to death

PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:34 03 March 2010

A FORMER Suffolk man who changed his name to his favourite character from a fantasy game died after stabbing himself in the chest like his namesake it emerged today.

A FORMER Suffolk man who changed his name to his favourite character from a fantasy game died after stabbing himself in the chest like his namesake it emerged today.

Cal Erlam who had a history of mental illness, then calmly washed the knife of blood – but did not call the emergency services for help as he waited for death.

At first police thought schizophrenic Mr Erlam, 29, son of a former Felixstowe doctor and councillor, had been murdered – but now it is believed he had not even intended to kill himself.

Forensic investigations found no evidence of a struggle or that anyone else had been present, and police discovered a picture on his computer of the character Cal, from the Dungeons and Dragons game, stabbing himself.

An inquest heard Mr Erlam, who was called Mark when he lived in Felixstowe and attended Deben High School, was found dead at his flat in Milner Road, Brighton, on June 25 after a worried neighbour contacted police after not seeing him for several days.

Police found a considerable amount of blood on the walls and floor of his home and the knife which was used to stab him had been washed afterwards.

A post mortem revealed the knife had penetrated into his lung and although the wound bled, Mr Erlam would not have died immediately. There was no sign of any physical assault or defensive wounds.

Mr Erlam was remembered by Felixstowe friends as a "quiet, intelligent and well-behaved young man, who tended to keep his thoughts and plans to himself".

His father Dr Anthony Erlam was a doctor at the Central Surgery in Hamilton Road, and his mother Susan, a technician at Deben High, was a town and district councillor.

Detective Inspector Martyn Underhill told the inquest at Brighton that officers had had an open-mind at the start of the inquiry but evidence satisfied them that no one else was involved.

"We were aware of Cal's history. He changed his name to Cal by deed poll. Cal is one of the characters in Dungeons and Dragons. On his computer we found an image of the Cal character stabbing himself."

The officer believed the computer picture of the Cal character was relevant in connection with Mr Erlam's death.

"Cal would have been alive for some considerable time after that injury and he did not call for help. I think that is very relevant. It was part of our decision-making process. He could have asked for help but he did not. That would confirm my view there was no foul play."

Mr Erlam had failed to attend doctors' appointments in the past and a toxicology report after his death revealed he had not been taking his prescribed medication.

Mr Erlam, diagnosed as schizophrenic, was probably dead when his father Dr Anthony Erlam had called to see his son three days before he was found, but there had been no answer at the door.

Dr Erlam said "Cal had a remarkable way of convincing people there was nothing wrong with him. He was proud he could go to the doctor and convince them he was barmy or well depending on what he wanted to do.

"He had said on a number of occasions in the past don't worry about me killing myself because it is not something I would do."

Brighton and Hove Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley did not return a suicide verdict but said Mr Erlam died as a result of a self-inflicted stab wound. It was not accidental but she did not find enough evidence to be sure he intended to kill himself.

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