Louis Bennett: death of popular Garston electrician was accidental, inquest hears

Louis Bennett: death of popular Garston electrician was accidental, inquest hears

Louis Bennett: death of popular Garston electrician was accidental, inquest hears

First published in News
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Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A 43-year-old found hanged in an coal shed in a Watford estate died accidentally, an inquest ruled this week.

The court heard Louis Bennett, of The Gossamers, made a final phone call to a relative, telling them he was about to hang himself.

Wife Jenny was by his side in minutes and attempted to hold up her dying husband, but she later told detectives he was "too heavy".

Witness PC Rebecca Clark, one of the first on the scene, said Jenny was very distressed, crying and had cuts on her feet because she had run out the house without shoes on.

Mr Bennett had made the threat after a night with friends turned sour, and he had gone off alone to the outbuilding on the estate.

He was grieving the loss of a close friend and a cousin and had said he was going to kill himself before - but never gone through with it.

Senior coroner Edward Thomas ruled Mr Bennett did not really want to die, but that his hanging was "a cry for help".

Minutes after the call came in on March 30 of this year, three paramedics and police raced to the Meriden Estate.

Mr Bennett was given CPR before being transported by ambulance to Watford General Hospital. Three days later, on April 2 he died. A post mortem was foregone so Mr Bennett’s organs could be donated.

But coroner Thomas said blood tests showed Mr Bennett had alcohol and cocaine in his system.

He said: "Louis was quite badly affected by the deaths of a close friend and relative in 2012 and 2013, he was still grieving for them."

He continued: "He had made threats to hang himself before, but had never carried it out. He made an expression out of it to let people know how sad he was."

The Bennetts had been with friends on the night in question. There had been a "misunderstanding" which caused tempers to rise and led to Mr Bennett going off to the outbuilding.

At 8.15pm, Mr Bennett called and said "I am hanging myself".

In a letter to the coroner Jenny said Mr Bennett was an Arsenal fanatic, that he used to take her to night games and she was very fond of that.

She also said he was a really good snooker player and a good electrician - except in his own house.

He was popular and many people went to his funeral, Mr Thomas noted the couple looked "very happy" in a photograph enclosed in Jenny’s letter.

Mr Thomas said: "If he had really wanted to die, he would not have rung to tell someone." 

Especially, knowing they were so close by. He probably knew what he was doing was dangerous. I think it was an escalation of his past behaviour to show his distress.

"I am not satisfied he really wanted to die, but that this was a cry for help because of the distress he was in. Therefore, I am going to record this was an accidental death."

His cause of death was recorded as hypoxic brain injury, cardiac arrest and asphyxiation.

 

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