Covid restrictions impacted man's well-being, inquest hears

Missing man Martin Conroy. Pic: Norfolk Constabulary

Martin Conroy - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A Norwich man with a history of mental ill health took his own life after drinking heavily at his home, an inquest has heard. 

Martin Conroy, 57, was found by his carer at his home on Margaret Crescent, Thorpe St Andrew, on October 21. 

The inquest heard Mr Conroy had moved to a new bungalow in August 2020 following the break-up with his wife of 35 years in June. 

A statement written by his ex-wife had stated Mr Conroy's mental health had deteriorated while they were living together in Aylsham, and he became increasingly paranoid.

She continued to support him after he moved to Thorpe St Andrew. 

Her statement also told the court that Mr Conroy had started drinking heavily since moving house. 

Mr Conroy had been admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after an overdose, before being transferred to the Poppy Ward at Ipswich Hospital on October 2, 2020. 

He was discharged from the ward on October 7 as it was felt any thoughts of self-harm had disappeared and it would be better for Mr Conroy to recover at home. 

He had also been reported as missing by police on September 28, before being found the next day after he had failed to turn up for a hospital appointment. 

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During the inquest, Mr Conroy was described as a "remarkably determined man" by his mental health co-ordinator who enjoyed walking dogs, watching documentaries on television and he often spoke fondly of his two sons and grandchildren. 

The medical cause of death was stated as hanging and a post-mortem report found Mr Conroy had 195mgs of alcohol per 100ml of blood, which is the equivalent of being more than twice the legal drink-driving limit. 

Police did not find any notes left behind by Mr Conroy after his death, but area coroner Yvonne Blake read out some of the text messages he had sent to friends prior to his death. 

Ms Blake said: "It seems he had a great deal of support. Carers, practitioners, the mental health team and support workers, his ex-wife and son were all very supportive.

"It appears he was impacted by Covid restrictions and he wanted to volunteer to help those with mental health struggles to make his life feel worthwhile and to mean something." 

She concluded: "Mr Conroy took his own life but he was intoxicated and this may have impacted on his ability to fully understand the consequences despite the messages on his phone." 

The Samaritans helpline can be called on 116 123. 

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