Suicide of manslaughter witness
PUBLISHED: 18:07 17 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010
A MAN who struggled to come to terms with his friend being killed in a fight took his own life, an inquest heard yesterday (Wednesday). Gary Hill, aged 38, was found by his brother hanging by a scarf from the loft hatch of his home in Regent Close, St Alb
A MAN who struggled to come to terms with his friend being killed in a fight took his own life, an inquest heard yesterday (Wednesday).
Gary Hill, aged 38, was found by his brother hanging by a scarf from the loft hatch of his home in Regent Close, St Albans, on August 28 this year.
His close friend Christian Noble died in 2006 following a pub brawl at the Blackberry Jack pub in Jersey Farm and Gary was a key witness in the manslaughter trial which followed.
Sam Sturnham, formerly of Harness Way, St Albans, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Noble whom he punched so hard that he fell and hit his head on the ground.
Mr Noble had refused to go to hospital and spent the night at Gary's house but his condition had deteriorated by the morning and he died later that day in hospital.
At the inquest, Herts coroner Edward Thomas heard that Gary felt guilty about Mr Noble dying and that it had deeply troubled him.
Mr Thomas also said he had financial troubles and that he had cancer three times which he feared would return at some point.
A post mortem carried out after his death found that Gary, a machine driver, had "sociable" levels of alcohol in his blood along with cocaine.
He had spent the night before he was found dead in the company of his close friend Lily Talbot and her boyfriend but went to bed at around 3.30am because he said he had to get up early for work in the morning.
Ms Talbot said she had no concerns about Gary when she left his home that night.
But the next morning when his brother David arrived to collect him for work, he was not waiting outside as he normally would and his front door was ajar.
After finding him hanging David attempted CPR without success.
PC Dean Mason said that a box was found in his house in which was a note giving details of how his family could access funds to cover his funeral expenses.
During the inquest, Gary's father Michael Hill said he suspected his son might have been suffering from bi-polar disorder due to his fluctuating emotions.
Mr Thomas recorded that Gary took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed due to the cocaine he had taken.
He said: "He clearly had sadness in his life and the other sadness is that he had cocaine as it lifts you up and then takes you down - and he was in that frame of mind when he took his life. He was clearly a man who was up and then down but that would not be a side other people would see."
He added: "He was a popular man. He was very sociable but could be quite introverted."
Following the inquest, Gary's sister Leanne Hill, aged 32, thanked the 250 people who turned out for his funeral.
Since his death, Leanne has set up a Facebook group entitled, Suicide - Please Think Twice, to raise awareness about suicide and draw something positive from the situation.
His family have also set up a tribute webpage for Gary at www.gonetoosoon.org