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By WILLS ROBINSON
PUBLISHED: 12:06, 23 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:03, 23 January 2014
Tragedy: Tim Marcellino, 22, was found dead in his bedroom while studying at Manchester University
A talented writer hanged himself in his student flat after he ‘fell to pieces’ when illness forced him to drop out of university, an inquest heard.
Tim Marcellino, 22, was found dead in his bedroom by his father while studying English literature at Manchester University.
He was discovered beside an open laptop, with a lengthy suicide not displayed on the screen.
Using a computer programme, he made sure it would not upload to Facebook until after his death.
Despite his creative talents, he had failed to make the second term of his degree course twice, even after lecturers had given him the chance to start again.
It also emerged he previously tried to kill himself with a drug overdose, referring to it as a ‘dry run’.
He attended one of Britain’s top private schools, came from a loving and supportive family and achieved straight A grades at A-levels.
But an inquest in Manchester heard he had suffered from depression for years and found it difficult to cope.
Tim’s mother Kate Wood, a finance manager for Barclays Bank, told the hearing: ‘He didn’t want to carry on and all the time he was feeling distressed even with friends or family.
‘He was sleeping badly and he couldn’t eat, had no appetite and he was falling to pieces.
‘When he did fall asleep he dreamt he was dead and he wished he was dead.’
Tim attended the 370-year-old George Heriot’s school where fees cost £10,300 a year and where ex-pupils included actors Alastair Sim and Roy Kinnear and BBC newsreader Gavin Esler.
He was born whilst his parents were still studying at Keele University. They split up when he was a young boy and, after they got married to other partners, he moved to Edinburgh with his mother.
He had to start first year twice while his GP referred him for counselling.
Tim was prescribed anti-depressants and was later referred for psychotherapy.
Mrs Wood said: ‘He struggled when he got to university. It got to a point where he couldn’t cope and he came home.
‘He was having help from medical professionals but he wasn’t very good at managing his money and that didn’t help. His dad would try and help him sort out his affairs.
‘In late 2012 he sent me a text which was disturbing. I pointed out he didn’t have any money and told him to get a job and told him he needed to pull himself out of this.
‘But he texted back and explained that there was nothing that could help him find the will for a job and to find a purpose.
‘I spoke to his father after that text and he went to see him. He phoned that night very upset because he found out Tim had tried to kill himself.
‘Tim’s counsellor wanted to refer him for psychiatric help but when I spoke to Tim he flatly refused and said he wouldn’t do it and would pretend he was OK.’
Mrs Wood’s last contact with her son was on the phone a few days before his death on March 25 last year.
She added: ‘He said he didn’t want to travel, have a wife, have a job – nothing. He said he was fed up and said he couldn’t do this for everybody else.
‘Stuart tried really hard to get him to go back to his house but Tim just wanted to be in the house he shared with his friends. That’s where he felt happiest.’
Tim’s father Stuart Thompson said: ‘I didn’t think taking him to hospital was a feasible thing. I didn’t think he would present in a way that would give any particular cause for concern. Resources are stretched and he wouldn’t have appeared at that time as someone who needed urgent help.’
Tim’s counsellor Sam Beaumont said: ‘He had a series of difficulties in personal relationships throughout his life. He presented with low self esteem and a general lack of meaning and purpose.
‘He often had greater sense of regard for other people than himself. He needed to start to value himself. He always offered reassurance he would never act on his suicidal thoughts. He always said his family was a strong protective factor.’
Recording a suicide verdict Coroner Nigel Meadows told Tim’s parents: ‘He clearly had expressed thoughts about wishing to end his life and had already tried something once which is sometimes described as a dry run.
‘If it was no longer tolerable to be alive then there has to be a recognition he is entitled to make a choice. It’s quite clear you did all sorts of things to help him and you couldn’t have done any more.
‘It’s always sad when a young person loses their life particularly at their own hands but that’s never something you can resolve.’
In an obituary written at the time of his death, writer Mike Wolfe said: ‘Tim was clearly talented and achieved As in everything.
‘However, even at school, it became apparent that Tim’s talent was a complex matter. Although he was liked by everyone, he alone didn’t recognise his talent or his popularity.
‘However much other people saw that this successful boy was a wonderful human being, he never apparently felt that.’
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or see www.samaritans.org.