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- The Gloucestershire Echo
09:00 – 13 April 2007
A 24-year-old man from Tuffley killed himself with chloroform after storming out of work when a colleague taunted him about never making the coffee.
Stuart Baldwin, bought the old-fashioned anaesthetic over the internet after resigning from his job as a financial controller with Online Packaging, an inquest at Gloucester was told.
Now Stuart’s father, David, is calling for tighter controls on the internet to stop dangerous chemicals falling so easily into the hands of vulnerable people.
Stuart, who suffered from depression, sent a bitter e-mail to former colleagues before his macabre suicide, where he placed a plastic bag over his head, sealed with a rubber band, so the chloroform could not escape.
David said his son’s death had hit the family hard.
“His death was a complete shock ,” he said.
Mr Baldwin said he was surprised Stuart was able to get hold of the chloroform so easily.
“I want to see these kind of chemicals controlled so only qualified medical practitioners can ever use them. It was obviously far too easy to buy as it was.”
Mr Baldwin’s colleague Diane Watts told the inquest at Shire Hall, Gloucester, that Stuart had not been enjoying his work shortly before he died.
“He came to my house and we talked about him changing his attitude, and holding social events so he could mix more easily.
“But he was bright and had ambitions to be a financial director, and was taking accounting exams.”
Ms Watts said when she joked about his reluctance to make coffee for the rest of his team he slammed a filing cabinet and stormed out.
He resigned from Online packaging at Quedgeley, in October and his parents were shocked to find him dead in his room in Eliot Close, Podsmead, on December 4 last year.
His father told the inquest: “After a meeting with Online packaging, Stuart said he was given the impression if he didn’t resign he would be dismissed.
“Like in any job he did not always come home really happy but it wasn’t all the time.
“He was a very intelligent young man. He was always using the internet to read about current affairs and history.
“Although he had problems with depression he had sought medical help and was on prescribed anti-depressants as well as seeing a private specialist.”
Pathologist Dr John McCarthy gave the cause of death as asphyxia, with chloroform intoxication.
Gloucestershire Coroner Alan Crickmore recorded a verdict of suicide, saying Stuart had made his intentions to kill himself clear in a typed computer note to his parents.
He also said he agreed Stuart must have got hold of the fluid over the internet.
David added: “We will always miss Stuart very much.
“We had a tree planted in memory of him on Robinswood Hill and now we will always be able to visit it and think of him.”