Man takes his own life after death of his mother

A MAN with learning disabilities took his own life in his garden shed because he could not come to terms with the death of his mother, an inquest heard.

Francis Sparkes, 44, told his brothers at their mother's funeral that he could not go on without her.

Three days later his body was found in his locked shed at his home in Butterrow Hill, Stroud.

A petrol disc cutter was lying beside his body and blood tests found he had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. In a statement read to the inquest on Tuesday, August 7, Adrian Sparkes said his brother had always lived at home with his mother.

After her funeral on April 19 this year, Francis said to Adrian and elder brother Colin 'I do not know how I am going to go on without mum.'

The following day, Francis visited Adrian at home and he again said he could not go without their mother. Adrian said he was concerned for his brother but added that neither he nor Colin thought he would do anything 'stupid.'

Two days later on Sunday, April 22, Adrian returned to his brother's house but could not find him. He searched for him near Stroud General Hospital and at their mother's grave, where Francis had been keeping close vigil.

When police arrived they found his body lying on a green coat on the floor of the shed, which had been locked from the inside by a curtain pole jammed across the doorframe.

No note had been left and there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

The inquest was told Mr Sparkes had a learning disability but would not engage with the medical, mental health or social services help available to him.

Gloucestershire deputy coroner David Dooley said this was a sad case of a man who had suffered an 'extreme grief reaction' to his mother's death.

"He had spent some time after her death outside the hospital where she died and also at the cemetery," the coroner said.

"He also appears to have suffered a level of panic due to his fear of how he would manage alone without his mother."

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Dooley added that he was satisfied Mr Sparkes intended to take his own life - ruling out the possibility that his actions in the shed had been a cry for attention as he could not have expected to be interrupted.

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