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Matthew Eyre, of East Peckham, found burned to death on Collier Street after struggle with depression and gender

By Ed McConnell

A man was found burned to death in a country lane after experiencing gender issues and depression.

A recent inquest into the death of Matthew Eyre heard he probably doused himself in an accelerant and set fire to his groin.

His body was found by a member of the public on a traffic island at the junction of Jarmons Lane and Collier Street shortly after 3am on Thursday, July 30. The location is five miles from his home.

Matthew Eyre, 41, had struggled with depression and his gender
Matthew Eyre, 41, had struggled with depression and his gender

Mr Eyre, of Russett Road, East Peckham, had last been seen at home four hours earlier by his father, who was unaware he had left the house.

“The circumstances here are strange and the test for suicide is very high.” — Coroner Patricia Harding

Investigating officer DS Brian Gilham said there was no indication of any third party involvement, however coroner Patricia Harding said due to the lack of CCTV this could not be entirely ruled out.

Mrs Harding heard the 41-year-old spent most of his time in his room, playing video games and watching films and was seeking employment after leaving his job at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council at the start of May.

Mr Eyre, who had a mild learning difficulty, had told people he was feeling depressed, lonely and suicidal in the years before his death.

In 2011 he told a doctor he wanted to live as a woman and had bought female clothing and used hair removal cream.

While there are no other records of his gender issues, police attending his home after his death did find female clothing in his room.

In May he informed a social worker he was feeling suicidal but would not take his own life as he could rationalise his thoughts.

He did not attend a follow-up meeting with a psychiatrist.

The body of Matthew Eyre was found on a traffic island
The body of Matthew Eyre was found on a traffic island

DS Gilham said an oxygen mask and cylinder were found near Mr Eyre’s body, along with the accelerant and matches.

A rucksack containing another mask, a hunting knife and a letter referring to his intention to change his name to Lysinthea Teserosa Ioane, believed to be a gaming alter-ego, was also close to his body.

DS Gilham explained that while he was not wearing the mask when found he may have had it on when the fire was lit, which would explain the lack of soot in his lungs noted by a pathologist.

Mrs Harding said this could suggest Mr Eyre did not intend to kill himself, adding: “The circumstances here are strange and the test for suicide is very high.”

She recorded an open verdict.

Mr Eyre was found five miles from his home in East Peckham
Mr Eyre was found five miles from his home in East Peckham

In 2012 a study into the mental health and wellbeing of trans people (someone whose gender differs from the one they were born with) found 84% of respondents from across the UK had thought about ending their lives.

The Scottish Transgender Alliance study also found more than a quarter of those had contemplated suicide within a week of taking part in the survey, half had attempted suicide and a third had made more than one attempt.

The same study found thoughts of suicide and attempts dropped dramatically after people had undergone gender transition.

It also uncovered a shocking rate of mental illness among trans individuals, with 88% of respondents suffering from depression at some point.

The report recommended more should be done by the NHS and at local government level to counter these issues, with families provided with more support as trans people are currently far more likely to seek help from them than health services.

If you are experiencing issues addressed in this article contact The Gender Trust on 01527 894838 or Samaritans on 116 123.

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