Chef killed himself after twice losing job in lockdown, inquest rules

Chef killed himself after twice losing his job in Covid pandemic and then his home after learning he would no longer qualify for furlough cash, inquest rules

  • Neil Crowther, 45, lost his jobs and the second time was not eligible for furlough
  • The 45-year-old was found washed up on the beach near Little Orme, Llandudno
  • Mr Crowther texted friend Ashley Thompson night before after evening together
  • He wrote: ‘I think I am ready to die. I need help I think.’ Mr Thompson was asleep
  • Call the Samaritans on 116 123. Or you can visit www.samaritans.org

A chef killed himself after twice being laid off during the coronavirus lockdown, an inquest has heard.

Neil Crowther lost his jobs and his home and on the second occasion was not eligible for furlough payments.

The 45-year-old’s body was found washed up on the beach near the Little Orme in Llandudno.

Mr Crowther, who had been suffering from depression, text Ashley Thompson – a friend and former colleague – the night before after they spent the evening together.

Neil Crowther (pictured) lost his jobs and his home and on the second occasion was not eligible for furlough payments

The 45-year-old’s body was found washed up on the beach near the Little Orme in Llandudno

He wrote: ‘I think I am ready to die. I need help I think.’ But Mr Thompson had gone to bed early and did not pick up the message until the next morning.

Jane Jones, who was walking her dog on December 9, came across Mr Crowther’s body, wearing only trainers and socks.

A post-mortem revealed he had 214 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, the drink-drive limit being 80.

Pathologist Dr Mark Atkinson gave the cause of death as drowning.

In a statement, Mr Crowther’s brother David said he had moved to work in the same Llandudno hotel in 2014 after losing his job as an insurance assessor.

He worked as a breakfast and lunch chef but became depressed after being laid off during lockdown. He was also stressed after struggling to find a suitable home.

Mr Crowther, who had been suffering from depression, text Ashley Thompson – a friend and former colleague – the night before after they spent the evening together

Mr Crowther said: ‘When he was out of work the second time he did not qualify for furlough and had to deal with financial pressures.’

Neil Crowther’s GP referred him to the mental health services for help with his depression but they were unable to contact him.

David Crowther told police that as soon as he heard a body had been found he knew it was his brother.

Recording a conclusion of suicide at Ruthin, John Gittins, senior coroner for North Wales East and Central, said although drink may have played a part he was satisfied that Mr Crowther had intended to kill himself.

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