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Steam Packet Captain inquest hears of depression battle

Sat, 20 Jun 2015


A Steam Packet captain who committed suicide last year acted "impulsively" after a long battle with depression and problems with alcohol.

At Douglas Courthouse yesterday the inquest into the death of Stephen Spenser was told he'd talked about taking his own life previously and had also taken an overdose three weeks before he died. 
 
The 44-year-old hung himself at his home in Onchan on October 30th - and was found by his mother, brother and fiancée who broke into the property when he failed to turn up to work. 
 
The court heard he had been seeking help for his issues - attending addiction service Motiv8 and having CBT therapy with a psychologist who described him as "seriously emotionally dysregulated". 
 
However she said he had "very strict rules" about not drinking before work - saying his "strong sense of duty and responsibility" meant he wouldn't do anything to put his job at risk. 
 
A post-mortem ruled he died as a result of asphyxia caused by hanging - toxicology reports also showed he was two times over the drink drive limit. 
 
Coroner John Needham said it was clear "no-one expected Stephen to do what he did" - saying the alcohol would have exaggerated his depressive feelings. 
 
Recording a verdict of suicide because his balance of mind was "disturbed" Mr Needham said he'd acted impulsively but at the time of his actions his intention was to end his own life. 
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