Popular wine merchant took his own life, inquest hears

Damien Cabanis. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Damien Cabanis. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A popular wine merchant and businessman was found to have taken his own life, a coroner has said. 

Damien Cabanis died aged 49 on October 25 last year near his home in Beeston Regis, next to Sheringham. 

At an inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court, area coroner Yvonne Blake said Mr Cabanis had struggled with his mental heath and with alcohol, and he had been "badly affected" by the first national coronavirus lockdown.

Ms Blake said she would not return a conclusion of suicide, because to do so would imply Mr Cabanis intended to take his own life and fully understood the consequences of his actions.

But she said a toxicology report which showed Mr Cabanis had traces of drugs in his system led her to doubt that was the case.

In giving her conclusion, Ms Blake said:  "Mr Cabanis took his own life, but he had consumed some alcohol and various drugs, which may have affected his ability to understand and fully intend the consequences of his actions."

Following his death tributes were paid to Mr Cabanis, who was described as a "key part" of the business community in the Norwich Lanes.

Mr Cabanis was born in Brittany, and opened Les Garrigues, a French wine bar and deli in St John Maddermarket, in 2015.

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The business merged with Louis Deli and relocated to Upper St Giles in 2018.

Ms Blake said: "He was an active member of the Norwich community, much liked by anyone who encountered him."

She said Mr Cabanis faced bankruptcy in 2020 and was feeling anxious and depressed. 

Ms Blake said she extended her sincere condolences to Mr Cabanis's family and friends.

Last October, Jonty Young, marketing manager for the Norwich Lanes Association, said he and many others had been "devastated" to hear of Mr Cabanis' death.

He said: “Damien was a big part of our community for several years and you would always get a great reception at Les Garrigues."

• If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple and Android.

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