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Reasons for Thatcham man's suicide will remain a mystery

Forty-six-year-old found hanged in Hampstead Norreys last September

Chris Ord


01635 886639

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THE reasons why a Thatcham man hanged himself last year remain a mystery following the conclusion of an investigation into his death.

Robert Smith was found hanged near an abandoned railway bridge at Hampstead Norreys on Tuesday, September 18, having been reported missing by his family the day before, the inquest at Reading Town Hall heard.

The 46-year-old, of Halifax Place, had not been seen since going out on his mountain bike two days earlier.

A statement from his mother, Sheila, was read out by senior coroner for Berkshire, Peter Bedford, in which she told the investigation her son had disappeared “out of the blue”.

She had become sufficiently worried to report him missing to police on September 17.

She described him as sometimes “becoming paranoid and stressed” but could give no reason for her son failing to return home.

However, he  was found hanged by a passerby walking his dog in the derelict area at around 5.30am on September 18.

Mr Smith’s orange mountain bike was found locked up nearby.

The inquest heard how Mr Smith had no history of depression or mental illness, although his mother told the invetsigation how he would smoke cannabis and become stressed without it.

Dr Colin McCormick carrying out the post mortem examination confirmed the cause of death to be compression of the neck by a ligature.

Recording a verdict of suicide, senior coroner Peter Bedford said that the location where Mr Smith’s body was found suggested  a deliberate act, which had been planned in advance, although he admitted there was no information to explain why.

Mr Bedford said: “I have no information to help me understand the basis of Mr Smith’s actions.

“However, the location was away from the public allowing no chance for intervention.

“My conclusion is that he took his own life.”

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