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'This is a tragic case' - man, 29, did not intend to take his life, coroner rules

PUBLISHED: 13:46 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:56 09 August 2019

Carrow House.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A man with a history of mental health problems did not intend to kill himself when he suffered self-inflicted stab wounds, an inquest has heard.

Craig Barnes, 29, was found dead in his room in Station Road, Thetford, on May 7, 2018, at about 9pm.

An inquest into his death, held at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich this week, heard that earlier that day he had called 999 claiming someone was planning to kill him and had barricaded himself in his room by putting a wardrobe in front of his door.

He told the control room operator that he had a knife and if anyone entered the room he would kill them.

Officers from Thetford and a firearms unit from Diss attended. They attempted to speak to Mr Barnes but they could not hear him very well through the door.

The inquest heard that a metallic banging could be heard and Mr Barnes told officers he had a knife that he used for "cutting things".

But he made it clear on several occasions that he did not intend to harm himself or other residents in the building and complied when asked to show himself to officers at his back window.

The inquest, which concluded on Friday, heard police attended for 90 minutes and left when they believed Mr Barnes was not a threat to himself or others.

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Measures were put in place for Mr Barnes, a process operative at CamdenBoss Ltd, to be checked on by his landlady and contact mental health services.

His landlady, who lived in the property, knocked on his door at about 6pm and got no response. She knocked again at 9pm and called emergency services after still not receiving a response.

The fire service entered his room through the window and discovered Mr Barnes' body on the floor with multiple stab wounds, and a wardrobe blocking the door. Death was confirmed at the scene and a post-mortem gave the cause of death as loss of blood due to a stab wound to the heart.

Blood and urine tests also revealed high therapeutic levels of painkillers and opioids, as well as traces of cannabis.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake gave a short narrative conclusion, ruling out a conclusion of suicide.

She said Mr Barnes had a history of mental health problems and self harm but did not intend to take his own life.

She added: "This was a tragic case that ended with the death of a young man.

"It can't have been an easy case for the police officers involved."

Whatever you're going through, the Samaritans are there 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and can be reached on 116 123 from any phone.

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