Jarrow man’s hanging death remains a mystery

The Little Thatch Inn, Gloucester. Image by Google Maps.

The Little Thatch Inn, Gloucester. Image by Google Maps.

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The reason why a South Tyneside air conditioning engineer hanged himself during a work trip will remain a mystery.

An inquest in Gloucester heard Calum McGurk, 27, of Northam Terrace, Jarrow, had never expressed any suicidal ideas but had been drinking with a friend the night before his death and was known to become ‘maudlin’ after taking alcohol.

The hearing heard he had been going through a difficult period following the break-up of a long-term relationship but Gloucestershire Coroner Katy Skerrett said there was no evidence to prove he intended to take his life and recorded an open verdict.

Mr McGurk was found dead in his room at the Little Thatch Inn, Gloucvester, on June 28. At the time he was working for Johnson Controls of Sunderland, in Cheltenham.

His mother, Cecilia McGurk, said she was not aware of any reasons why he might have decided to take his own life. She added: “He had recently been through a difficult relationship break-up and, because of that, had financial worries over the house he had bought with his partner.”

She said she had not found any note from him and did not believe he had sent one to anyone else.

She added: “His last phone call to a friend was very disjointed because they had both been drinking but there was nothing he said that made the friend think he might harm himself.

“Knowing him, when he had a drink, he could either get really silly or become maudlin. I think that when he was in the room on his own that night, his problems might have preyed on his mind.”

The hearing heard toxicology tests showed the level of alcohol in his system was two and a half times the drink/drive limit.

Mrs Skerrett said the alcohol would have had an influence on Mr McGurk at the time of his death but added: “But to come to a conclusion of suicide, I must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he meant to take his own life.

“I cannot be sure that was what he intended and therefore I will record an open conclusion.”