Devoted son took his life after going missing, inquest concludes

Mark Bland photo

Mark Bland was reported missing from his Gorleston home. - Credit: Norfolk Police

An inquest has concluded that an IT technician and devoted son took his own life after going missing.

Officers had been concerned for Mark Bland's welfare after the alarm was raised by his mother and sister following his disappearance from his Magdalen Way home in Gorleston at around 11pm on January 28.

Emergency services including Norfolk Police, the East of England Ambulance Service and HM Coastguard rescue officers were called to Gorleston beach at 10.25am the following day, where his body was found.

At an inquest into the 44-year-old's death, area coroner Yvonne Blake concluded Mr Bland took his own life, with a medical cause of death given as drowning.

In a statement read to the inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court on Wednesday, May 5, Mr Bland's sister Sharon Cox said her brother "devoted himself" to supporting their mother following their father's death.

She said: "The loss of our father hit Mark quite hard. They were quite close and he was devastated when he passed.

"He was so scared of going out, bringing Covid into the house and putting mum at risk that he stopped going out.

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"He used to go for a run or to the gym to destress but the gyms closed and fear stopped him doing the rest."

In the months before his disappearance, Mr Bland, an IT technician at City College Norwich, became concerned about a leak in the roof at the Magdalen Way home he shared with his mother.

Mrs Cox said: "He was constantly in the loft checking and patching leaks, and he was worried about their safety."

Shortly afterwards, Mr Bland, who was born with an eye condition and was partially sighted, was told he needed an operation after being diagnosed with cataracts which, if unsuccessful, could cause him to lose his eyesight.

Mrs Cox said: "He was very good at sports and loved football and running. He was able to express who he was as a person through sport.

"He was very academic and clever and could take any subject in his stride."

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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