Distraught engineer Michael Howell, 26, of Liverpool hanged himself after confiding in a friend during a New Year’s Day drink that his ex-girlfriend was marrying someone else
Distraught engineer Michael Howell hanged himself after confiding in a friend during a New Year’s Day drink that his ex-girlfriend was marrying someone else, an inquest has heard.
The 26-year-old, who is originally from Liverpool, sent a text message to the same pal later in the evening saying he couldn’t cope with his ex getting wed and then hanged himself in the bathroom.
The young software engineer was found by housemates days later in their house at on Cricket Road, Oxford after they became worried that he was not responding to Whatsapp messages.
The inquest in Oxford had heard that Mr Howell had spent Christmas at home but had gone out for drinks with a friend on January 1.
It was during these drinks that Mr Howell told his friend, Gerhard Rauch, that his ex-girlfriend – described to the hearing only as Doga – was getting married.
Mr Rauch and Mr Howell attended Southampton University together and met up for drinks after Mr Howell realised that Mr Rauch was over in the UK from Berlin.
A statement from Mr Rauch was read to the inquest. It detailed what had happened that evening when they had been out together.
‘He seemed fine, then he brought up Doga and that he had met up with her in December,’ he said.
‘I had always told him to move on.’
Mr Howell and Mr Rauch had a number of drinks on the evening of January 1, before they parted to go to their respective homes at 10pm.
Oxfordfshire coroner Darren Salter was told that Mr Rauch received a message from Mr Howell at 10.30pm, saying: ‘I can’t take Doga getting married.’
When he woke up the next morning Mr Rauch sent a text at 8am which said: ‘I’m still drunk Mike.’
There was no response to this and mobile phone Whatsapp records indicated it was not opened by Mr Howell. Sometime the previous evening Mr Howell sent a text to a group chat for his house which was described by his mother and coroner Mr Salter as ‘nonsensical.’
This was the last communication from Mr Howell, the inquest was told.
When his housemates returned after the Christmas holiday and New Year period on January 3, they thought that Mr Howell had travelled abroad, even though his mother said his car was parked outside.
One housemate, Stephanos Aradipiotis, a research engineer, became worried for Mr Howell’s welfare and checked on his room but the door was locked.
‘I came back after the New Year and at one point I began to worry about Mike,’ Mr Ardipiotis said in his statement.
‘He was the only one in the house over the New Year. I went to check the bathroom and at about 2.45pm on January 4 and found him hanging there.’
Mr Ardipiotis cut Mr Howell down and called an ambulance but he was declared dead at 5.10pm at the house.
He seemed fine, then he brought up Doga and that he had met up with her in December,’ he said. ‘I had always told him to move on
A toxicology report into Liverpool-born Mr Howell’s death found that he had 179 milligrams of alcohol in his blood, with the drink-drive limit being 80 milligrams.
A post mortem examination found the medical cause of death to be hanging.
Mr Salter said: ‘He died overnight on the first or second, most likely but I cannot say for sure.’
When the family raised a question about whether Mr Howell could have been found earlier, the coroner said: ‘There was the belief that he had gone abroad.
‘Michael was upset because of events with his ex-girlfriend but he had no previous suicidal idolisation and did not leave a suicide note.
‘He hanged himself and that is a very final act. It is not a cry for help.
‘I record a conclusion of suicide.’
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