First Posted on Antidepaware.co.uk
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By Natasha Adkins
Mystery surrounds the death of a man found with serious head injuries on the ground next to Garrard Street car park. Christian Luff, 39, of Beatty Drive, Tilehurst, died from multiple injuries consistent with a fall from a height, just after 9.30am on Saturday, December 7, last year.
Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford recorded an open verdict at an inquest in Reading Civic Centre last Tuesday as there was no evidence of what happened in the Reading town centre car park that morning.
He said: “Nobody saw how he came to fall, there is no CCTV, no witnesses. “We don’t know for sure what happened in the car park and even what floor he was on.”
Mr Luff had a long history of suffering from chronic depression and anxiety.
In May 2011 he took an overdose of paracetamol tablets with the failed intention of ending his life.
In 1997 Mr Luff was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, which damages some of the nerve cells in the brain, causing deterioration and gradual loss of function.
Mr Luff’s sister Kirsty Haines said in a statement that all his family and friends were shocked by what happened and did not know of a reason for it.
She continued: “Huntington’s is in the family, [Chris] had the gene.
“Maybe he couldn’t cope with this?”
A statement was read to the inquest from Robin Vance, who found Mr Luff unconscious on the pavement the day he died.
He explained that after parking his car in the Garrard Street car park, he took the stairs to the ground floor.
He said: “As I emerged I saw a man on the floor approximately two feet away from the ramp.
“As I got closer I could see he had a serious head injury and there was blood around his head.”
Unable to find a pulse, Mr Vance phoned for an ambulance. A woman walking past told Mr Vance she was a nurse and started doing CPR.
“Shortly after paramedics arrived and pronounced Mr Luff dead.
A toxicology report showed Mr Luff had no alcohol in his system at the time of his death and was taking his prescribed anti-depressants appropriately.
Pathologist Dr Gearoid Kingston carried out a post mortem examination and concluded Mr Luff died from multiple injuries – including several fractures to his skull – consistent with a fall from a height.
Giving his verdict, Mr Bedford said: “From the evidence before me and for the reason that we really are missing key evidence about the circumstances he came to fall I will record an open verdict.”