‘Gorgeous’ personal trainer struggling during lockdown paid £500 for a ‘suicide kit’ to end his own life, inquest hears – Manchester Evening News

by fitness journalist

A personal trainer from Altrincham who had been struggling with depression during lockdown took his own life after ordering a ‘suicide kit’ online, an inquest heard.

Harry Benjamin, 33, was found dead in his bedroom at his home at Barry Rise in Bowdon on the morning of June 17 by his mother.

The night before, he walked into the house at about 8.30pm and went to his bedroom as he didn’t ‘fancy’ what was on TV.

“That’s the last time I saw him,” his mother Jill Alexander told an inquest at Stockport (Manchester south) Coroners’ Court.

When she woke the next morning at 8am, she decided not to wake her son as he suffered from insomnia.

She became concerned later that morning when she sent her son a message on WhatsApp, which did not appear to deliver to his phone.

She went up to his room and discovered his body. His phone had been switched off.

It later emerged Mr Benjamin had paid £500 for a ‘suicide kit’ online, which included a sedative not readily available in the UK and used in euthanasia.

The inquest heard it was probably posted from the US.

No note had been left and Mr Benjamin had put his affairs in order – for instance by closing his Netflix account – before taking his own life, the inquest heard.

Said to be a brilliant artist with a high IQ, he went to art college in London, before returning north, where worked in bars for a period before starting up a business as a personal trainer.

A pathologist found nothing of significance in their post mortem exam, but, after being handed the results of a toxicological analysis, concluded Mr Benjamin’s was caused by toxic levels of a sedative found in his system.

The sedative, which the Manchester Evening News is not naming, is sometimes used to facilitate euthanasia, the inquest was told.

Mr Benjamin’s mother Ms Alexander told the inquest her son had been ‘struggling for years with depression’ and was deeply affected by the first lockdown in March.

Helplines and websites

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org

For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/

“His gym was closed and he could not work,” she said.

“It just took everything away from him. He had lost his momentum. He just didn’t know what to do. Of course, he could not meet friends because of the lockdown. He just felt isolated.”

Mr Benjamin had also been struggling with a split from his girlfriend, she said.

“He did feel very isolated. I was just his mum. I tried to be everything to him, but it was impossible. He had just had enough. He said it to me many times,” Ms Alexander added.

The inquest was told Mr Benjamin had been prescribed anti-depressants since 2008 and that he didn’t want to discuss his problems.

Ms Alexander said she went to see a doctor to get her son sectioned under the Mental Health Act, but her effort was thwarted by the first lockdown in March.

Mr Benjamin’s last contact with his GP was in April 2020.

Part of Ms Alexander’s statement for the inquest was read out in court.

In it, she said: “I never thought in a million years he would take his own life.”

She said she believed he would pick himself up out of his depression.

Paying tribute, she said her son was considered by his friends to be a ‘really loving, kind person’ and she went on that he was ‘gorgeous inside and out’.

Senior coroner for South Manchester Alison Mutch said it was clear at the time of his death, Mr Benjamin had not told his family just how low he was – although they recognised he had been struggling with lockdown.

She went on that she accepted evidence that there were no clues that night of how he was feeling.

“It’s clear that he was hiding how he was feeling, just how low he had been feeling at that point. We know he purchased [a sedative] over the internet,” added Ms Mutch.

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Lockdown had ‘had an enormous impact on his mental health’, she added.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, the coroner said she was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that he did intend to take his own life given the actions he took.

He had purchased the sedative knowing what it could be used for, noting also he had closed his Netflix account and appeared to ‘put his affairs in order’ before taking his own life, said the coroner.

This content was originally published here.

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