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Former navy man takes his own life just days before 50th birthday

Mark Neve was found hanged at his Kintbury home inquest hears

William Walker

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William Walker

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A former Navy man from Kintbury took his own life just days before his 50th birthday and after spending “the happiest day of his life” with his son.

An inquest into the death of Mark Jonathan Blyth Neve heard that one week before he was found dead at home, the proud father had taken part in a charity hike with his son Edward, and had previously told doctors he would not end his life for his son’s sake.

But on the morning of September 1, after a lifelong battle with depression he had kept hidden from family and friends, Mr Neve was found hanged after sending a suicide note via email.

Referring to the email, assistant coroner for Berkshire Ravi Sidhu said at Thursday’s inquest: “He described being sad and tired of life and believing that his actions were selfish in the extreme and cowardly.

“He said he couldn’t stand the pain and misery of being himself and couldn’t go on.”

Mr Neve had described in the email being lonely since childhood and spoke of how he had been “running away from his life” since he was born.

Mr Sidhu said: “He described the pain as an almost physical thing. He believed there was no cure for depression.”

The inquest heard how Mr Neve, born on September 5, 1965, had recalled his childhood as a “happy and carefree time” and that when he had left home and joined the Navy he was “taught to excel”.

While serving in the Navy he met his second wife and they had a son, Edward.

Mr Sidhu said: “A week before his 50th birthday he did the Tough Mudder. He said the time he spent with Edward during the Tough Mudder was the happiest day of his life.

“He loved being a father and was immensely proud of Edward and it was very important to him to teach him everything he could.”

The coroner said that it appeared that Mr Neve “had a lot to live for” but added “there was a hidden side to him”.

He said: “He was an intelligent man and I suspect he was very clever in keeping these things to himself.

“And when he did divulge it, it was in as positive a way as he could.

“I can’t imagine how much of a shock that must have been to members of his family.”

The court also heard how he had previously visited his GP seeking help for depression and anxiety and when asked by doctors if he had experienced suicidal thoughts he answered: “No, I would not do that to my son.”

Mr Sidhu added: “He believed that the greatest crime of what he was about to do was how much that would hurt his son Edward.

“He made it clear that nobody should blame themselves and he had tried to speak to doctors and they just gave him pills, which made him feel dull and listless.”

Following his death, toxicologists found that he had 186mg of alcohol in his blood, or 2.3 times over the UK legal driving limit.

“He had had a substantial drink,” the coroner said, “which would indicate he was already affected by alcohol at the time of his death.”

From the email that Mr Neve had sent hours before he was discovered the court heard: “I gave up smoking and alcohol but I missed them terribly so I am indulging one more time before I end my life tonight.”

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide and told members of the family present: “I am very sorry that you have lost somebody of that value as a man.”

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