Open verdict on man found hanged

Coroner not convinced Wilden man Matthew Becker intended to take his own life.

A man who was on anti-depressants and hanged himself did not commit suicide, an inquest has ruled.

Matthew Becker, 33, of Hollis Lane, Wilden, was found with a cord around his neck by his father in the garage of the family home at around 7.50am on Sunday, October 12, last year.

In the weeks before his death, Mr Becker had been receiving treatment from the Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust for depression and a behavioural disorder, Bedford Coroner's Court was told on Tuesday.

Police found notes of apology addressed to Mr Becker's friends in his bedroom, but deputy coroner Martin Oldham was not convinced the documents were suicide notes.

PC Howett, who found the notes, said: "They were on the floor, not placed but not hidden away. They were possibly written and discarded."

Mr Becker's parents questioned whether the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine, given to their son to control his impulsive behaviour, may have caused side-effects which included having suicidal thoughts.

Dr Hussein Shah, who prescribed the drugs, said: "At no stage in my involvement with Mr Becker did I have concerns for his safety.

"A lot of anti-depressants also cause thoughts of suicide, but there are millions of people around who take anti-depressants and their problems are cured."

The court heard that Mr Becker had tried to hang himself once before and had also 'over medicated' the week before his death.

But Dr Shah said he did not feel Mr Becker needed to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Deputy coroner Martin Oldham said to record a verdict of suicide he had to be sure Mr Becker meant to take his own life.

He added: "Obviously he had some difficulties of which he was aware. He had issues with anger management and impulsiveness.

"The issue which affects everybody is whether he took his own life. Matthew left two notes, but they are not directions that he intended to take his own life."

Mr Oldham said he was not convinced Mr Becker did mean to kill himself and that the only verdict he could record was an open verdict.