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Mar 14, 2013 00:00
John Stuart Marr, pictured, 34, had suffered from anxiety and depression since he was a teenager and had undergone numerous pioneering treatments to help him overcome them.
However, an inquest heard that the bright and popular Mr Marr was found dead at his flat on London Road, Alderley Edge, by his housemate in July last year.
A post mortem found he had taken an overdose of two medications he was taking for his condition. But a coroner ruled he could not be certain whether Mr Marr had intended to kill himself, or if the overdose had been accidental.
The hearing was told that Mr Marr had four issues causing him extreme stress immediately prior to his death.
He had severe financial problems and his relationship with his girlfriend had broken down a few months earlier. That was coupled with an ongoing court case and problems with one of the treatments he was receiving for his mental health issues.
His father told the hearing in his opinion it was more likely he took his own life.
After the hearing Duncan Marr said his son found it increasingly difficult to deal with these ‘four areas of real challenge’. Afterwards, he paid tribute to his son saying: “Johnny was a big man in so many ways, most things about Johnny were larger than life.
“He was never satisfied with normality and was always extreme whether that was in his choice of wine, clothes, food, cars, or indeed friends.
“He loved the outdoors and animals and was probably one of the youngest life members of The National Trust.”
Mr Marr said that Johnny was a voracious reader and had considerable literary knowledge.
He added: “Johnny loved old things and had collections of coins, old maps, guns – in fact he would probably have been more at home in a different century. In reality, he had been suffering from clinical depression for nearly 20 years.
“This robbed him of a normal adolescence and it is for this reason that his adolescence reached its peak in his 30s.
“He was extremely courageous and inventive in dealing with his illness, travelling home from Birmingham university most weeks for ECT therapy at Macclesfield hospital and having a wide variety of medication regimes, some of which were very unpleasant.
“My wife Vivienne, my son Andrew and family have really appreciated all the messages of comfort and support we have received.
“I wish Johnny could have seen them. A great light has been extinguished, but the smile will be with us forever.”
Mr Marr, known as Johnny to friends and family, was a former pupil at Gorsey Bank Primary school and Cheadle Hulme Junior school before moving on to Manchester Grammar school.
He was high academic achiever, the inquest heard, and passed part of his entrance exam to Oxford university.
He eventually went to study Law at Exeter before gaining a 2:1 degree in English literature at Birmingham University.
After his studies he worked at Summerfields in Wilmslow before setting up his own online jewellery business.
He had showed an aptitude for online trading in the early days of auction site eBay and began selling watches and other jewellery.
The hearing was told he ran into financial problems after disputes with two of his former business partners.
It was revealed he had previously attempted to take his own life by hanging himself on Alderley Edge in November 2010.
Though both his flatmate, Geoffrey Davies Palin, and his mother, Vivienne, told the hearing that it seemed he was coping with his problems in July last year and they had no inclination he may attempt to kill himself.
Deputy coroner for Cheshire, Michael Wallbank delivered an open verdict. He said: “What is not clear is the circumstances in which the drugs were taken.
“I am aware of the complicated medical and psychological background, the previous attempt on his life and his four areas of real challenge.
“However, I am also aware of the evidence of Mr Davies-Palin who says he never mentioned he was planning to take his own life.
“In all the circumstances I am not satisfied to the standard required that he intended to take his own life.
“Therefore I am left with no option but to record an open verdict.”
A friend of Mr Marr’s is running the Wilmslow Half Marathon in his memory. Lizzie Starkie will be raising funds for MIND, which offers support to people suffering from mental illness.