"Emaciated" 26-year-old from Winchester refused to eat, inquest hears

26-year-old refused to eat or take anti-depressants, inquest hears

26-year-old refused to eat or take anti-depressants, inquest hears

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A 26-year-old man from Winchester died after refusing to eat or take anti-depressants, an inquest heard.

Tom Chipperfield, of Lanham Lane near Sparsholt, was “severely malnourished” and suffered from self-harm and depression.

Tom’s father, Bryan Chipperfield, told Winchester Coroner’s Court that his son only ate a meal every two days.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Mr Chipperfield said that Tom became increasingly depressed because he couldn’t find “full-time, proper work” and was reluctant to leave the family home.

But Tom didn’t recognise that he had a problem and refused to take prescribed anti-depressants.

“He always said ‘Why all this attention?’” Mr Chipperfield said. “It was the last thing he wanted. We were trying to help.”

“His mother died suddenly, about 18 months prior to this,” he added. “I don’t think he fully recovered.”

Describing the night of Tom’s death on Saturday, May 3, Mr Chipperfield said he was awoken by an unusual noise in the early hours of the morning and found his son unconscious on the bathroom floor.

He said: “I could see Tom’s feet sticking out of the bathroom. I found his face up against the side of the bath. It looked horrible.”

Mr Chipperfield immediately called 999, trying to resuscitate Tom himself before paramedics and police arrived.

In a statement read out at the inquest, PC Katherine Batt said that police found Tom “emaciated”, with a trail of vomit leading from his bedroom into the bathroom.

He was taken to hospital, where the death was later confirmed.

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri told the inquest that it was likely Tom died from cardiac arrhythmia caused by severe malnutrition. He also found self-harm scars on Tom’s arms.

South Central Hampshire Coroner Grahame Short returned a verdict of death by natural causes, with the contribution of self-neglect.

“Tom was not eating for a particularly long period,” he said. “I don’t think anyone can fully understand why someone chooses to do that, but I am afraid that is what happened.”

He told Mr Chipperfield: “I can’t think of anything more upsetting than finding your son in those circumstances and not being able to help.”

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