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Norfolk father who was 'life and soul of the party' died following self-harm

Norfolk Coroner's Court, in Carrow House, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Coroner's Court, in Carrow House, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Tributes have been paid to a father who was the "life and soul of the party".

Barry Stebbings died aged 66 at his home in Marion Roberts Crescent, Hethersett on March 15, an inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court heard.

Mr Stebbings, who was retired, had attended the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital two days earlier after taking an overdose but told the staff he regretted the decision and called 999.

He was treated and assessed by a mental health nurse before being allowed home at 12.36am on March 14.

The court heard that at 5.46am on March 15 an ambulance was called to his address after he had self-harmed. Emergency staff attempted to resuscitate him for 30 minutes but he was pronounced dead.

Mr Stebbings' daughter, Jo Stebbings, told the court she had fond memories of growing up with her father.

She said in a statement read out to the court: "As children we lived in a happy and loving home.

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"My mother and father both worked but he was always laughing and joking. I was a bit of a tomboy growing-up and I remember going fishing and shooting with my dad.

"When I was 14 my parents got divorced and that's when I noticed a change in his behaviour."

The court, at Carrow House, Norwich, heard how Mr Stebbings started becoming paranoid and would block holes in the wall as he thought people were spying on him and would tie doors together with string.

Ms Stebbings said she remembered her father staying up at night by candlelight making sure they were safe.

Leading up to his death, Mr Stebbings had told family members he was worried about an up-coming trial which was causing anxiety.

In a statement his partner Christina Boore told the court Mr Stebbings was the life and soul of the party and said she wished he had spoken about how he felt so that she would have been able to help him.

Area coroner Yvonne Blake gave a narrative conclusion. She said it was clear that the up-coming trial was looming large in his mind and that he also had a history of paranoia but did not intend to take his life.

The cause of death was given as self-harm in conjunction with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.

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