Tragic death of Wigan dad may have been 'moment of madness'
A grieving mum told a coroner she believed her son died after a “moment of madness” and that he did not intend to end his life.
The body of Shaun Murphy, 28, was found at his partner’s home in Norley on June 30, an inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard.
While a pathologist recorded he died from self-suspension by ligature, no messages expressing his intent were left and his loved ones did not believe he wanted to die.
His mother Rita Grady told the hearing: “I just think he has done it in a moment of madness.”
Shaun’s partner Jodie Dunn, with whom he had a daughter, also said she did not believe he planned to kill himself and may have done it after drinking alcohol.
The court heard Shaun, who split his time between his partner’s home and his parents’ home, had felt depressed in the previous six months but did not want to talk about it or seek help.
He was not employed and Miss Dunn said he had been drinking heavily – around 10 cans of beer a day.
He spent the evening of June 29 at her house, drinking with his partner, his parents and his brother. He was making plans with his family, talking about booking a holiday to Turkey and seemed to be in good spirits, the inquest heard.
His parents left at around midnight and Shaun left with his brother about an hour later, before returning and going to bed.
Miss Dunn said Shaun woke her in the night and told her to tidy the house, but she wanted to keep sleeping and went to their daughter’s bedroom.
Shaun went to neighbour Sharon Meehan’s house at 5am to ask for a cigarette.
She told the inquest he “seemed a bit down” and had clearly been drinking, as he was slurring his words, but did not speak of wanting to harm himself.
They chatted as they smoked, before Shaun left and she watched him return to Miss Dunn’s house.
It was there that Miss Dunn found his body at around 9.30am. Paramedics were called but he was confirmed to have died.
Tests carried out after his death showed Shaun had 110mg of alcohol in 100mls of blood, which may have caused “moderate drunkenness”, depending on tolerance. The legal limit for driving is 80mg.
They also revealed antidepressant nortriptyline, benzodiazepine, cocaine and an adulterant sometimes found with it, and cocaethylene, which is produced when cocaine is consumed while alcohol is in the body.
Toxicologist Julie Evans reported cocaine can cause increased energy, alertness, increased confidence and euphoria, but comedown effects can include low mood, anxiety, depression and irritability. Cocaine can be associated with risk-taking behaviour and self-harming.
Both Mrs Grady and Miss Dunn said they did not know Shaun had been taking drugs.
Coroner Prof Dr Alan Walsh recorded a narrative conclusion that Shaun died as a result of self-suspension, but his intentions were not clear. He did not believe he died by suicide.
He said: “Only he knows what he was intending at that time. He might have been intending to end his life, he might have been intending simply to shock Jodie.”
If you need to speak to someone, call Samaritans at any time on 116 123.