An inquest into the death of a “tragic” Falmouth man who drowned himself at a quarry near Lanner has heard he had given no warning of his intentions.
Luke Atkins, 35, went missing from supported accommodation at Tall Trees, Dracaena Avenue, on May 21 2013, and his body was recovered by police divers on May 24.
The inquest at Truro City Hall heard that during a search of his room, the police also found what they considered to be a suicide note.
Assistant coroner Andrew Cox heard a statement from Luke’s mother Geraldine, in which she said she felt that Luke and his sister had been affected by the suicide of his aunt in 1994, who had also suffered from psychosis, which she believed had been drug induced.
She said the two seemed to “go off the rails”, drinking alcohol and taking drugs.”
Luke was also affected by the suicide of his sister Zoe in 2004. His mother said that he had been hearing voices for several years, but that was the time when they got worse.
The inquest heard that Luke had a history of schizophrenia, and had been admitted to Longreach Hospital in 2005. Then in 2006 he had been sent to the Langdon Hospital in Dawlish after being arrested for the attempted murder of a man in Penzance.
He had subsequently been transferred to Bodmin Hospital, before moving to supported accommodation in 2013.
His mother had been seeing him on a weekly basis, and a week before his death he visited for her birthday. She also spoke to him on the phone on the Monday or Tuesday before he died, and said she couldn’t hear him very well, but he said “alright mum”, and she didn’t see him after then.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Bernadette Rheeder told the coroner that since he was in Langdon Hospital, Luke had made “slow but steady progress”, and after being transferred to Fettle House in Bodmin he was allowed out for longer periods, and in April 2013 he was discharged into the community.
Dr Rheeder said the last time she saw Luke, about three weeks before he died, he had seemed very positive and was “making plans for the future”, and that he had continued to have contact with several members of the mental health team, who “all had good relationships with him and were quite fond of Luke.”
She said: “None of us picked up any deterioration in his mood or that there was any indication that Luke was considering committing suicide.”
The inquest also heard a statement from Fleur Bunyan, who was a friend of Luke’s at Tall Trees, and saw him leave the accommodation on Monday, May 20 with a large rucksack.
She said the pair had been watching TV, but that at about 9.30pm he told her the voices were back and “they were loud and intrusive” so he was going for a walk, but she didn’t think much of him going out at that time as he had done so before, and was “active in general.”
Dr Rheeder said that the fact Luke had felt he was getting better, before suffering a setback when he heard voices again, could have been “very scary for him”.
In reaching his verdict, the assistant coroner said Mr Atkins had been a “young man who had been ill for a long time”, and that there was nothing that his doctors saw or could have seen that would have indicated he intended to take his own life, but that it was “clear that that was what he had resolved to do.”