Published: 00:01, 30 March 2014
A former bank manager from Hersden died after drinking antifreeze in an effort to get high.
Nicholas Austin, 49, was found in a coma by his wife Lynn at their home in Blackthorne Road on October 5. He died the same day.
But Mrs Austin told an inquest she is adamant that despite his troubles with depression and alcoholism, her husband – who was made redundant in 2012 – had no intention of taking his own life.
The hearing in Canterbury was told a post-mortem showed that Mr Austin, a deputy branch manager until he stopped working, had well over the fatal amount of antifreeze in his body when he was found.
And in evidence read out to the court, mental health nurse Emma Sergeant said Mr Austin was “well-kept and co-operative” during his sessions, but admitted drinking a litre of vodka a day and had suffered about 20 falls as a result of losing consciousness while drunk.
She said: “He wanted to improve and engage with us, but after his redundancy in 2012, he was suffering depression and using more alcohol.
“He had a low mood and had difficulties getting pleasure out of life.
“He did go to Alcoholics Anonymous, but admitted to frequent suicidal thoughts when using alcohol.”
Miss Sergeant said that on one occasion Mr Austin was found wandering Canterbury city centre after taking an overdose of paracetamol with alcohol.
On another occasion he stole three bottles of wine while drunk and later claimed that he had barely any recollection of the incident.
“I believe that he took the antifreeze as a way of getting a high, like an alcohol feeling. It would not have been as a way of taking his own life" - Lynn Austin
But Mrs Austin, 44, who works as a personal assistant, said her husband had been trying to deal with his problems and had not drunk for a week before his death.
She said: “We spoke often in relation to his life and at no point did he express any suicidal feelings. He wanted his life to move on.
“I believe that he took the antifreeze as a way of getting a high, like an alcohol feeling. It would not have been as a way of taking his own life.”
Pathologist Dr Miklos Perenyei told the inquest that the amount of antifreeze he found in Mr Austin’s system was in “the fatal range”.
Coroner Rebecca Cobb recorded a verdict of misadventure.
More by this authorAlex Claridge