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Whitstable man Rikki Themistocleous found dead in park after row with girlfriend

Grief-stricken parents have paid tribute to their “dearly-missed” son who hanged himself following a row with his girlfriend.

Rikki Themistocleous sent text messages to mother Jeanette telling her he was going to take his own life, an inquest heard.

Later that day – with police on the hunt for him – Mr Themistocleous carried out his threat in a Whitstable park.

Rikki Themistocleous, who died near a children's playground
Rikki Themistocleous, who died near a children's playground

The hearing heard how the 32-year-old was “impetuous” and had attempted suicide in the past.

But speaking afterwards, dad Andreas said the family would remember him in a positive light.

Describing their devastation, he said: “How do you ever come to terms with something like this?

“Losing Rikki has left a massive hole in a lot of people’s hearts. It’s a tragedy for all of us and for everyone who knew him. We will all miss him dearly.”

During the hearing, Mrs Themistocleous was forced to endure a number of probing questions about son Rikki’s state of mind on December 3 last year.

“I know he had had a row with his girlfriend. I don’t think there was anything else troubling him,” she said. “I got quite a few texts from him after I saw him that day.”

Coroner Rebecca Cobb asked whether those texts indicated Mr Themistocleous was intending to take his own life.

“They did,” Mrs Themistocleous replied.

Mr and Mrs Themistocleous, from Rowland Drive, Herne Bay, sat with dignity as harrowing details of their son’s final hours emerged.

Mr Themistocleous was a maintenance worker at Seaview Holiday Park between Whitstable and Herne Bay, where he also lodged.

“Losing Rikki has left a massive hole in a lot of people’s hearts. It’s a tragedy for all of us and for everyone who knew him. We will all miss him dearly” - mother Jeanette Themistocleous

Police statements described how officers had received several evening reports of a red VW Polo driving badly in the area of St Augustine’s Crescent, Whitstable.

Miss Cobb read a statement from PC Stuart Rogers, who said officers found the car abandoned in Plough Lane, Whistable, shortly before 9pm.

“A man flagged us down and said he had nearly been hit by another man driving a red car,” said PC Rogers. “The car had driven off and nearly hit another car. The red car stopped and the driver got out and ran off.”

Police dog handler PC Paul Donovan described in a written statement how his dog picked up a scent in Plough Lane at around 9pm.

They traced it for around 500 metres into Swalecliffe Drive and into the adjoining recreation park.

The dog led PC Donovan to a tree where he discovered Mr Themistocleous.

“It was quite obvious he was dead,” said PC Donovan.

Medical records showed he had attempted suicide in 2010, though this was considered an “impulsive” act.

Post mortem results showed his system contained small quantities of alcohol and cannabis and cocaine consistent with recreational use.

Miss Cobb said: “One of the aspects I have to consider is whether or not alcohol played a part. Given the small amount I don’t consider that it played a significant part."

She recorded a verdict of suicide, saying: “Following an argument earlier that evening he had indicated his intentions in text messages.”

Speaking outside, Mrs Themistocleous said: “He was a wonderful, wonderful son. He was not only a son, he was a brother and a friend to many.”

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