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Mystery over Norfolk man’s death

22:57 07 February 2014

Eastgate House on Thorpe road, Norwich, home of the Norfolk Coroner

Eastgate House on Thorpe road, Norwich, home of the Norfolk Coroner's office. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

Mystery surrounds the death of a south Norfolk man after a coroner said it was not known how he came to be poisoned.

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Benjamin Hines, of Scole Road, Brockdish, near Diss, was pronounced dead at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last summer after collapsing at his home.

Toxicology tests revealed that the 31-year-old teacher had died from poisoning on August 21, an inquest at Norwich Coroners Court heard yesterday.

David Osborne, assistant coroner, said that the poisoning was “unintentional” and Mr Hines had not intended to kill himself.

His mother, Teresa Hines, told the inquest that on the day before he died, her son had been working in a friend’s garden and had gone to perform at a gig at the Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary where he played guitar.

On the day he died, Mr Hines was planting pond plants in his garden and collapsed after a family meal on the evening of August 21 and stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital, despite CPR efforts by his mother and paramedics.

“There was nothing odd about his behaviour. It was a normal day and he was chatting with us as he was working.”

“He was quite a quiet young man. He was very intelligent and was happy and had a good sense of humour and he was very concerned and cared for people about him. He was due to start a teaching job in October,” his mother said.

The inquest heard that GP Paul Cronin had seen Mr Hines in November 2011 where he had signs of depression caused by him struggling with the challenges of a teacher training course and was prescribed with an antidepressant. He last requested the antidepressants in June 2013, but there were no concerns that Mr Hines had mental health problems or had suicidal thoughts, the inquest heard.

Mr Osborne made a narrative conclusion to the inquest, saying “it is not known how he came to be poisoned.”

“On the day in question, there was nothing untoward. There is no evidence, on the balance of probabilities, that it was intentional and on that basis there is no question of considering a conclusion that Benjamin may have killed himself.”

“He was a much-loved son and his friends said the world has lost one of its good guys,” he said.

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