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Manchester Evening News
18:06, 1 Mar 2016
By Rebecca Shepherd
During one incident John choked his sister Charlene until she almost passed out after a minor row over her cleaning the living room
A former Royal Marine committed suicide after his abuse of anabolic steroids to help him keep fit made him prone to violent temper tantrums.
John Salthouse, 23, had taken steroids every two weeks claiming it would help with his weight lifting – but the pills caused him to erupt into bouts of ‘blind rage’.
During one incident John choked his sister Charlene until she almost passed out after a minor row over her cleaning the living room. Later he threatened girlfriend Kimberley Challenor after she stopped him trying to ‘do a deal’ in a nightclub.
Miss Challenor subsequently had to call police when she found him in the bath in a drunken stupor with cuts to his legs wearing a Royal Marine beret and a ligature around his neck.
In August last year – just two days after seeing a doctor over his behaviour – John died of suffocation underneath a canal bridge near his home in Ashton-Under-Lyne.
An inquest heard the upholsterer joined the Marines when he was a teenager but he left the armed forces in 2014 following an incident of damage to a hotel and moved back home.
His father Graham Salthouse told the Stockport inquest: “He didn’t seem happy at the end of his time in the Royal Marines and had some problems. He came back to live at the family home with me and his sister and it was around this time he became very serious about weightlifting.
“He had always been serious about gym training. I think his temper might have been to do with the drugs he was taking. Bodybuilding drugs appeared in the house, which were muscle building drugs, most of them were bought online from abroad. I was concerned about what affect they had on him physically and mentally.
“There was an incident at the home which led to him being arrested and he had to stay away from the house. I didn’t have much contact with him after that.”
Miss Challenor who let John move in with her said: “We were at a party in Manchester and he got aggressive because I stopped him doing a deal in the club.
“It was almost like he was in a blind rage. I also knew he was taking steroids around that time. We had never seen him like that before. I made the decision that we would be better off friends and he was remorseful and said sorry.
“I assured him that he could stay as long as he wanted and he would be fine one moment and then turn the next. He took steroids every two weeks, I didn’t want him to do it and didn’t like him doing it.
“One morning I was woken up by banging in the bathroom, I went in to see what was going on and there was blood on the walls and cuts on his legs.”
She said he was wearing his marine beret and had tied something around his neck. The police were called and he was taken to hospital.”
John was admitted to Tameside Hospital where he was treated by mental health staff but was discharged the following day and went back home to Miss Challenor before heading out to work. He was found dead at 5am the following morning by police. Tests showed a small level of antidepressants in John’s system.
Patricia Bardsley, a senior practitioner in mental health services said: “He said he felt insecure in his relationship and said it had been fragile the last two months. Two nights earlier he had made a number of derogatory remarks towards her and the next day she ended the relationship. He had suicidal thoughts.”
Recording a suicide verdict coroner, Joanne Kearsley, said: “John had a number of difficulties since he had come out of the Royal Marines and he himself admitted he had some difficulties with anger. I think he is someone who acted very impulsively at that time when he was feeling quite low. I’m sure listening to the evidence is really difficult – he has so many family members and friends here.’