St Albans ‘blackmail’ victim’s death was self-harm, inquest hears

Hatfield Coroner's Court

Hatfield Coroner's Court - Credit: Archant

A St Albans father who was described by a coroner as being blackmailed died after accidentally self harming and choking himself.

Michael Wain, known as Gerald, of Cottonmill Lane, was found on May 17 by a member of the public slumped on the ground at the playing fields in Old Oak Lane.

The passer-by called police after finding the 53 year old.

He knew something was not right as Mr Wain looked as though he was kneeling but also quite upright.

He had not been seen since 1am that day and had reportedly not left a note at home.


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There was also no indication he intended to kill himself according to his family.

A toxicology report revealed that Mr Wain’s blood levels were quite high at 183mg, compared to the legal driving limit of 80mg.

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An inquest at Hatfield Coroner’s Court heard on Wednesday that he had previously harmed his wrist but this had been treated as an accident.

West Herts Coroner Mr Edward Thomas mentioned that Mr Wain had been blackmailed in his summary but no further explanation was given.

He said: “He was being blackmailed and that had put him under a lot of stress. The pressure he felt he was under would be difficult.

“When somebody is in distress and has had as much to drink as he had, it’s a serious possibility to me that this could have been a cry for help.

He explained that as a cry for help could have been a possibility, it would be wrong for him to record on Mr Wain’s death certificate that he had considered suicide.

Recording a verdict of self-harm, the coroner said Mr Wain’s thoughts and intentions would have been impaired by his inebriated state.

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