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Man found dead in Northcroft Park 'took own life'

Brother: 'I believe his problems started with his relationship with his girlfriend'

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

Dying 'countryman' took his own life

A MAN found dead in Northcroft Park in Newbury in August took his own life, an inquest heard.

As well as problems in his personal life, Ricardo Lopez Furtado was expecting to be taken to court for drink-driving and having no insurance after crashing his moped into The Coopers Arms in Bartholomew Street, Newbury.

He failed a breath test at the scene, but assistant Berkshire coroner Ian Wade told the hearing in Reading Town Hall on Thursday: “Regrettably, perhaps he didn’t know that the decision had been taken that no further action would follow that particular arrest.”

George Rawlings said in a statement how he had been near the weir in Northcroft Park with his 10-year-old daughter on the afternoon of Friday, August 23.

He added: “I walked about to try a different fishing spot.”

Mr Rawlings said he saw a man suspended, clearly dead, and called police.

The police officer who attended said Mr Furtado’s moped and a nearly empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s whisky were nearby.

He said he recognised 36-year-old Mr Furtado, formerly of Bartholomew Street and latterly of St John’s Road, Newbury, as the man he had arrested for drink-driving on August 15.

The officer said Mr Furtado had crashed his moped into the wall of The Coopers Arms, breaking his foot.

Mr Furtado’s brother, Robson Furtado, said they both worked as welders, but that Ricardo had battled problems with drink and drugs recently.

In addition, he told the inquest his brother was unhappy in his love life.

Robson Furtado said: “I believe his problems started with his relationship with his girlfriend.

“He tried to spend lots of money on her, buying all the things she wanted – necklaces, mobile phones and other gifts.

“He started to have money problems and took out an overdraft and money on credit cards.

“He was worried he couldn’t pay the bills.”

He added: “His girlfriend was horrible to him and put him down a lot. Before meeting her he was happy and positive, a sociable person.

“After his accident he couldn’t work and he became more depressed and worried.”

On the day he died, the inquest heard, Robson Furtado was alarmed to receive a mobile phone message from his brother which stated: “I love you and the family so much.

“I don’t know what I can say to you, it hurts too much.

“I’m sorry – stay with God.

“I love you wherever I am and I’m thinking about you.”

Robson Furtado tried in vain to contact his brother, but Mr Wade said it later transpired that his mobile phone had been switched off and left at his home.

Toxicology tests showed 234mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in Mr Furtado’s system – around three-and-a-half times the legal limit for driving.

Cocaine metabolites in his system showed he had also taken the Class A-controlled drug some time before his death.

Mr Wade said: “In all likelihood he had consumed most, if not all, of this alcohol while contemplating what he was about to do.

“The message he sent to his brother was fraught and emotional and it seems he was communicating an intention consistent with suicide.

“His life had taken a bad turn recently with the road accident and a wretched tale of an infelicitous relationship.

“All, it appears, had been weighing on his mind such that he decided to take himself to this quiet corner of Northcroft Park.

“It appears he had reached a desperately low ebb and clearly formed the intention that his actions should cause his death, as sad and desperate as that was.”

Mr Wade returned a verdict of suicide.

* Where to get help in West Berkshire

* For the Samaritans, call 116 123 (freephone, 24 hours every day)

n Talking Therapies can help with life’s difficulties and problems. It helps adults aged over 17 with anxiety, depression, stress, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic and phobias. Call 0300 365 200 (Monday to Thursday 8am to 8pm and Friday 8am to 5pm).

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