Death of Wigan man who dreamed of becoming a police officer was 'enormous loss'

A coroner believes there are still “a series of unanswered questions” surrounding the death of a Wigan man at the age of 25.
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Matthew Robinson, from Ashton, had experienced the loss of both his parents and grandparents by the time he was 18, an inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard.

But he was looking forward to the future, including a holiday to Benidorm with his best friend and completing the final steps to becoming a police officer, just like his grandfather.

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Bolton Coroner's CourtBolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court
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He had never sought support from mental health services, been diagnosed with a mental illness or suggested he wanted to harm himself.

So it was “out of character” when he video-called girlfriend Maisie Taylor in the early hours of April 30, telling her he “can’t do this anymore” and showing her a ligature.

Maisie told the court he had been drinking alcohol on a night out, which often made him feel low.

Continuing the video-call, she got into a car with her mother Deborah Taylor and set off from their home in Todmorden to check on Matthew.

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He told them he would be okay and said they should go home, but they continued to drive to Ashton to see him.

While the call remained connected, Maisie said Matthew did put the phone down around 30 minutes into the call so she could no longer see him – something they both regularly did.

But when she arrived at his house with her mother shortly before 2am, they realised something was wrong and phoned 999, before breaking in.

Paramedics treated Matthew at the house and rushed him to Wigan Infirmary, where he was taken to the intensive care unit.

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While an initial CT scan did not find a brain injury, another a few days later showed Matthew had a severe hypoxic brain injury which was not survivable.

He died in hospital on May 6.

A post-mortem examination concluded he died from hypoxic brain injury, caused by hanging.

Maisie told the inquest Matthew had been “struggling” for some time, since leaving his job as an estate agent a few months earlier to become a property manager and as he was busy revising to become a police officer.

“He said he didn’t really feel like himself and wanted to get some help for it. We did talk about him getting some help for it, but he didn't contact anyone,” she said.

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The court also heard Matthew was struggling to end the relationship with Maisie – something she denied – and that the death of a friend’s mother may have reminded him of his own bereavements.

Both Maisie and Mrs Taylor told the court they did not call 999 sooner because they had not believed Matthew would really hurt himself.

And Maisie said she thought it was a “cry for help” rather than a bid to end his life, as he knew she was on her way.

Coroner Prof Dr Alan Walsh recorded Matthew died “as a consequence of self-suspension by ligature, but his intentions at the time remain unclear”.

He said could not “ignore” that he had created a ligature, but did not know if he intended to end his life.

“Sadly, to die so young is an enormous loss. It’s a tragedy,” he said.