East Sussex director who had dispute with neighbours took his own life

Michael Salliss died at Conquest Hospital
Michael Salliss died at Conquest Hospital

A construction company director who was involved in a dispute with his neighbours took his own life, an inquest heard.

The body of 76-year-old Michael Salliss was found at his home in Etchingham by his wife Hazel on September 19, 2018.

He was attended to by paramedics and taken to Conquest Hospital on the same day.

Having already been placed into an induced coma, Mr Salliss died at the hospital on September 22.

His inquest, held in Hastings today (April 30), was read a written statement from his wife of 34 years Hazel Salliss.

Mrs Salliss said she and her husband had lived in Etchingham for 14 years but had more recently been involved in ‘issues’ with the surrounding neighbours.

On the morning of September 19, Mrs Salliss said she had been at home with her husband while he was on the phone to a friend.

She said she had been in the annex and when she returned to the house her husband was nowhere to be seen.

She told the court she shouted out to him but got no response before entering the kitchen area and discovering his body.

Mrs Salliss – who called police for help – said she did not know of her husband’s issues with despression and anxiety at the time of his death.

The court was also read a statement from John Shewan – a chartered structural engineer who had known Mr Salliss for 46 years.

He said Mr Salliss had been involved in a dispute with his neighbours and as a result had spent time at his house every other day.

Mr Shewan said: “I got the feeling he did not want to go home.”

On the morning of September 19, Mr Shewan said he was on the phone to his friend who was waiting for an email from a solicitor.

He said he last heard from Mr Salliss at 11.15am before receiving a call at 12.06 to say there had been an incident and was asked to attend his friend’s house.

Once Mr Shewan arrived, he said emergency service vehicles were parked up outside the house.

Mr Salliss was taken to Conquest Hospital and put into an induced coma.

Dr Nick McNeillis said the first scans showed there would be signifcant injury to Mr Salliss and his condition worsened over the next 72 hours before his death.

Senior coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze returned a conclusion of suicide.

• If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans may be able to help – the charity’s helpline number is 116 123.

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