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Inquest hears Mark McNeill, who was found dead at student halls in Canterbury, had gender issues

A depressed student who did not believe he was a specific gender was found dead in the hallway of his student digs, an inquest heard.

Mark McNeill, 20, had been sent to a gender identity clinic by his GP after complaining of anxiety and depression.

The Christ Church University American studies student was found hanged in his shared house in Tudor Road in December by friend Naomi Dommett.

Mark McNeill
Mark McNeill

Housemate Leanne Dunnage told the inquest at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court that she was aware he had mental health issues.

“Throughout the second or third years of his course he spoke about not believing he was a specific gender,” she said.

“He demonstrated this by using make-up in the second year.

“Everyone in our house had returned to their homes for Christmas but Mark said he wanted to stay to get ahead with his work before going to see his mum.

“When I was home, I messaged him but did not hear back and when my housemates said they hadn’t spoke to him either, I asked Naomi to go to Tudor Road.”

"He said he didn't feel like he had a specific gender and didn't relate to one or the other" - Leanne Dunnage

Mr McNeill, who did not attend the gender identity clinic and was in the final year of his studies, was found in his hallway when Miss Dommett went to check on him.

A pathologist report found he had 208mg of alcohol in his system, nearly three times the drink-drive limit, and a “very modest” trace of MDMA commonly known as Ecstasy, as well as anti-depressant Fluoxetine.

“During the second year he was very open to wearing make-up and he would try and do my make-up too,” Miss Dunnage added.

“But after the summer of the second year I never saw him with make-up again and there was no mention of it.

“He said he didn’t feel like he had a specific gender and didn’t relate to one or the other.”

Canterbury Magistrates Court where the inquest took place
Canterbury Magistrates Court where the inquest took place

A friend last spoke to Mr McNeill in the early hours of Tuesday, December 13 – almost a whole day before he was found dead on Wednesday, December 14.

Coroner James Dillon recorded a suicide verdict.

“I find it very unlikely that he did not intend the actions to be terminal,” he said.

“There was no evidence of third-party involvement and he had plainly taken his own life and intended to do so.

“He had been deceased for some time when he was discovered.”

If you would like confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans free on 116 123 at any time, or visit the Samaritans website.

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