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Tragic suicide of popular Herne Bay landscaper

A well-known landscaper with a history of depression tragically took his own life the day after his 41st birthday.

Gavin George, from Herne Bay, was discovered inside his Douglas Road flat by sister Katie Clark and childhood friend Mike Austin.

The inquest took place Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone
The inquest took place Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone

She had received a phone call from her brother's girlfriend, Lauren Joyce, who had not seen her partner since the early hours of the morning.

Speaking at an inquest into Mr George’s death at Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone today, DS Luke Stainer told how officers were called to the scene at about 4.20pm on September 13.

He said: “The lock had been drilled by Michael Austin. Mr George must have locked the front door himself.

“There was no sign of a disturbance at the address. There were no signs of third-party involvement.”

DS Stainer said police found on Mr George’s mobile phone a message written just before 1.10am, which failed to send, to his girlfriend saying “time to die xxx”.

He was found in his flat in Douglas Road, Herne Bay. Picture: Google
He was found in his flat in Douglas Road, Herne Bay. Picture: Google

He had been at a birthday party at Miss Joyce's house earlier that night.

In a statement read to the hearing on her behalf, she said: “It got to around 11.30am and I had not heard from him. I then banged at his doors.

“It then got to 2.15pm. I banged on his door but still did not get an answer.

“At roughly 3pm Katie said she was leaving work to come. She said she would phone the police to get permission to break open the door.

“When I got there Mike Austin was coming out the door and said ‘I’m sorry’.”

"There was no sign of a disturbance at the address" - DS Luke Stainer

Mr George, who was born in Canterbury, was declared dead at the scene by paramedics just before 4.45pm.

He had visited his GP in February 2018 suffering with depression. He was subsequently prescribed antidepressants and referred to a therapist, but did not attend the sessions.

DS Stainer also told the inquest that, towards the end of April, Mr George had sent Miss Joyce, who was unaware of his past troubles, an apparent "suicide threat".

But she only found out about Mr George’s previous battles with depression following his death.

Family members also confirmed to the inquest they had no concerns for his welfare at the time.

Assistant coroner Katrina Hepburn concluded Mr George had taken his own life.

“He had a history of mental health issues,” she said.

“He was otherwise a fit and healthy gentleman and his neighbour described him as being in good spirits.

“What I can glean is he had been deceased for some time. It looks like he double-locked the door so nobody could get in.

“I am reaching the conclusion that this is a death of suicide.”

If you are struggling and want to speak to someone, call Samaritans on 116 123.

There are services to help around Kent, find out more about them here

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay

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