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Man killed himself using guide from the internet, inquest hears

A 49-year-old man used gas to take his own life after researching how to do it on the internet, an inquest has heard.

Robert Stannard, of Mill Lane, Teignmouth, was found dead in his garden shed on May 9 last year, by his wife and son who had been looking for him.

An inquest in Torquay on Thursday heard that Mr Stannard, who suffered with depression, had been ‘very determined’ to end his life and had left a suicide note at the scene.

His son, Daryl, said in a statement that the shed was locked from the inside and his mother thought she could see him inside. He said: “I saw Dad and immediately thought he looked dead. I told Mum to go back into the house. I followed and rang 999.”

Special constable Adam Bayliss said he used force on the door to gain entry to the shed. His colleague checked for signs of life and stated Mr Stannard was not breathing and she could not locate a pulse. The ambulance service arrived and confirmed that Mr Stannard was dead. The fire service also attended to ensure the scene was safe from the hazards of the gas canister.


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Detective constable Timothy Lavercombe, who attended the inquest in person, confirmed that a suicide note was found at the scene, along with a receipt for the gas canister, some other items and a sheet obtained from the internet which gave ‘a guide to how to kill yourself in this way’.

Det Con Lavercombe, who said he had more than 20 years’ experience, said: “I formed a view Robert had taken his own life. He had done quite a lot of planning around that. He bolted the shed from the inside so my view was it was the outcome he was very determined to achieve.”

Coroner Ian Arrow said the gas had come from a reputable welding specialist company. Mr Arrow said: “He has ordered this bottle for himself and carried out research so he knew how to use that gas. He took it to his shed and locked himself in and has been quite determined in ending his own life.”

He recorded the medical cause of death as suffocation and gas inhalation.

  • If you need support, or are concerned about someone you know, the Samaritans offer a 24-hour helpline. You can call them for free on 116 123.

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New waterproof guide to help people enjoy the Teign Estuary and…

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A new guide to help people enjoy the Teign Estuary and the adjacent coasts has been launched. The new pocket-sized guide has been printed in a splash proof format and helps everyone understand the local rules of navigation and safety issues as well as providing associated information such as maritime business links and where to access live wave buoy data.

The Teign Estuary and Coastal Partnership has launched the new guide with the aim of helping recreational water users to enjoy the unique conditions on the Teign Estuary and adjacent coasts including Dawlish.

The Partnership is led by Teignbridge District Council and Cllr Humphrey Clemens, executive for planning and housing said: “This pocket sized guide, which expands out to eighteen panels following maps of the estuary and coast, offers everyone a convenient summary of the rules of the river as well as a welcome reminder to consider the impacts of individual actions.


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“The Teign and open coast are working areas for fishermen and shellfish production and during the warmer seasons are also recreational playgrounds for large numbers of people in all sorts of craft. Whether you are aboard larger vessels such as yachts and cruisers or something as small as a kayak or paddleboard, or whether travelling fast when water skiing of just pottering slowly in a tender, it is the responsibility of everyone to enjoy our waters safely and this innovative style of guide will help.”

The free guide, which uses easy to interpret maps and high definition aerial photos, is available from the Harbour Office, Polly Steps launch site, major holiday sites along the shores and from specialist outlets such as watersports and dive centres, as well as from Teignbridge District Council’s offices and website.

The new guidance is backed up by a series of signs at all of the major slipways around the estuary so that everybody launching a vessel should be clear about their responsibilities.

Andrew Cooper of Haccombe and a Partnership Stakeholder Representative said: “This twin approach of clear regulation and helpful guidance should assist all users and help ensure that a day afloat or on the estuary shore is safe, fun and respects our special coastal environment.”


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