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Stonemason Nicholas Baker hangs himself at Maidstone railway station after row with neighbour at Marden

A man tormented by his neighbour’s late-night music filled his flat with gas and left a candle burning before leaving to kill himself, an inquest heard.

Stonemason Nicholas Baker, who hanged himself in Maidstone town centre, told a friend that constant loud music deep into the early hours was "driving him mad".

An inquest heard the 45-year-old, who worked for Abacus Stone in Tunbridge Wells for 20 years, occasionally drove to Headcorn Airfield to sleep undisturbed in his car and had been arrested for doing so.

The High Level Bridge in Maidstone
The High Level Bridge in Maidstone

The noise pollution led to several confrontations between Mr Baker and his neighbours in Sutton Court, Marden, which also saw him apprehended by police on at least two occasions.

He ended up quitting his job and spent his final weeks worrying about money.

Hilary Smith, from Sutton Court, was the last person known to have seen the amateur metal detector alive. She said in a statement he feared he may have to sell his car.

In 1989, Mr Baker was diagnosed with schizophrenia but by 2005 the symptoms had declined.

In the weeks leading up to his death he visited a doctor at the Marden Medical Centre, but refused counselling.

Nicholas Baker lived in a groundfloor flat in Sutton Court
Nicholas Baker lived in a groundfloor flat in Sutton Court

Mr Barker, who left no note, was found hanging from the stairwell of the railway bridge that connects Maidstone's East and Barracks stations by a passerby at about 5.40pm on Sunday, December 8.

Paramedics tried to revive him using CPR, but 45 minutes later he was declared dead.

After watching the life-saving attempt, DS Andrew Felton went to Mr Baker's ground floor flat and found four hobs fully open, with a candle burning in his bedroom.

The property smelt heavily of gas and neighbours were evacuated until the gas board declared it safe.

Speaking at the Archbishops Palace, in Mill Street, he told coroner Patricia Harding he believed Mr Baker intended for the flame to detonate the gas, and she agreed.

The coroner recorded that Mr Baker had taken his own life.

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