Man, 43, killed by a cocktail of drugs

Friday 18th January 2008 12:00 am
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A 43-year-old Liss man took his own life with a lethal cocktail of prescribed drugs in his front room, triggered by mental health problems and anxiety about the renewal of his driving licence. That was the verdict Portsmouth and South East Hampshire coroner David Horsley, concerning the death of "tortured" Brian James Jenkins, of Grange Road. Father-of-two Mr Jenkins had been plagued with depression since a back injury forced him to quit his job as a forklift truck driver in 1982. Living off disability benefit and relying on crutches and a wheelchair for mobility, Mr Jenkins became addicted to opiates to alleviate excruciating back pain and subsequent stomach abcesses and leg and lower back ulcers. Suffering from a long history of personality disorder, psychotic tendencies and self-harm, Mr Jenkins was also formerly addicted to alcohol. Discovered at his home by his son on May 19 last year, Mr Jenkins had consumed 10 times the upper therapeutic dose of the painkiller dihydrocodeine and three times the upper therapeutic dose of the antidepressant amitriptline. Mr Jenkins' mother, Ann, described the tragic tale at the inquest at Penns Place on Tuesday. "He hurt his back at work, and went to the doctor," she said. "The X-ray found two cracks and he went to hospital to have a back operation, but he never seemed to recover from it. He never picked up and his mobility was worse afterwards than before. "His marriage broke up, and by then he was on high doses of painkillers. "He tried to kill himself several times. It was a call for help. He slashed his throat and stabbed himself in the neck with a knife. "But he always rang and I'd say, 'what have you done?' and he'd say, but it got to the stage where we'd pull up outside his place and would I send my husband in first because I was frightened at what we were going to find." She continued: "Many times we found notes and I always had it in my head that one of these days we'd find him like this." Mrs Jenkins also told how her son would frequently take multiple tablets, before passing out. In order to solve the problem, the family picked up three- day tranches of tablets to deliberately prevent an overdose. Dr Bruce Adam, consultant psychiatrist at the Petersfield Hospital in Swan Street, had treated Mr Jenkins from 2003. "At times when I saw him, he was clearly more depressed than other times," he said. "I felt that the reason was the combination of high volumes of two antidepressants. "There was a risk of him harming himself, but I didn't see him as being imminently a risk," he added. Coroner David Horsley surmised: "Quite clearly he did have serious mental health problems, which stem back to the injury at work. "This problem with the driving licence was hovering over him. That was a situation where I could envisage Brian could think 'I've had enough and I don't want to go on'. "He had enough tablets at his disposal to do it, and he deliberately sought out to do it. He didn't contact anyone. "This is only due to his illness. Brian has taken own life while suffering from current depression. If Brian had been in his right mind, he wouldn't have done this. "All we can feel is sympathy for Brian for all the years he's been tortured by this, and for his family." Verdict: Suicide.

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