An Eastbourne man died after stabbing himself in the neck.
A murder investigation was initially launched after Christopher Bullen was found dead in his home in Ceylon Place, Eastbourne.
But detectives eventually ruled out any third party involvement and came to the conclusion the 31-year-old had inflicted the fatal injury on himself, an inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard today (April 25).
A fork lift driver by trade, Mr Bullen suffered a series of mental health problems including a history of emotionally unstable personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, anger management issues and substance misuse – according to his GP, Doctor Gregory Folwell.
In the weeks before he died, the court heard Mr Bullen attended A&E due to paranoid thinking. He was referred to various mental health organisations, but in the weeks leading to his death he had not returned phone calls from a mental health team, the inquest heard.
He was found on the floor in his room by his housemates Dean Hobbs and Andrew Adams on October 31, 2018. They called 999, but it was too late.
Taking to the witness stand, Christopher Neal, a former detective, said, “Because of the circumstances, a full investigation was conducted by the Surrey and Sussex major crime team. It was treated as suspicious to begin with.
“Having gained all the information and background the team came to the conclusion the injury was self-inflicted.”
The former Sussex Police officer said, “There’s no way somebody would have that injury without defensive injuries. Nobody would allow someone else to do that to them.”
Police requested Dr Robert Chapman, a specialist pathologist from the Home Office, conduct a post mortem to discover whether the injury could be self-inflicted.
He found Mr Bullen’s cause of death was a stab wound to the neck, and said it was possible for him to have inflicted the injury on himself.
East Sussex coroner Alan Craze referred to the post mortem showing signs Mr Bullen had self harmed in the past.
He said, “The question arises – was this fatal stab wound simply another more serious version of cutting? It’s the issue of his intentions at the time. I’m not certain suicide is the right verdict. This is a probable suicide but it’s not proven beyond reasonable doubt.”
He recorded an open conclusion.