Elkins Boatyard owner Matthew Elkins took his own life at Convent Meadows Quay, Bournemouth Coroners’ Court finds
A BOATYARD director suffering from anxiety took his own life by entering the sea a short distance from where he worked, an inquest heard.
Dorset Police recovered the body of Matthew Elkins (57) from the water a short distance from his home and office at Convent Meadows Quay in Christchurch on 23rd March.
Sitting at Bournemouth Coroners’ Court, coroner Brendan Allen said Mr Elkins’ sister and partner had reported him missing to the police earlier that day after finding his phone and keys in the office.
A statement from Mr Elkins’ partner Sarah Evans said the couple had awoken around 6.30am that day and she had asked him if he slept well.
Ms Evans said Mr Elkins had been struggling with anxiety and suicidal thoughts but had started sleeping better after beginning a course of beta blocker medication.
Ms Evans said the couple had discussed visiting a counsellor and she asked him if he wanted her to call anyone on his behalf. She said: “He said we would talk about it later that night and he said it to me in a very relaxed manner.”
The inquest heard Mr Elkins ate breakfast and had a cup of tea, telling his partner he would see her at lunchtime. Ms Evans said Mr Elkins waved her off as she set off for work in her car around 7.40am, the last time anyone saw him alive.
She said that around 10am Mr Elkins’ sister Sally Brown called to say she could not reach him on his mobile phone. The inquest heard she had been to the boatyard office and became concerned when she found his keys and phone unattended on his desk.
Other boatyard staff said they had arrived around 8.30am and had not seen Mr Elkins.
Ms Evans said: “Sally panicked and phoned me. Due to this I came back as soon as possible.”
Mr Elkins’ partner, sister and boatyard staff reviewed their CCTV footage to see if he had left the yard before calling the police to report him missing.
Ms Brown told officers her brother had been suffering from poor mental health and that it was “so out of character for him to just disappear”, the inquest heard.
Dorset Police attended the boatyard and began a 300-yard radius search from the office. In a statement to the coroner, an officer wrote: “The rear of the office opened up onto a grassy area and the water’s edge.
“I walked along the edge of the quay looking at the ropes. Most of them appeared old and covered by seaweed with the exception of one that looked new and out of place, tied to a mooring post in front of a small boat.”
The officer said he found a body at the end of the rope.
Officers recovered Mr Elkins’ body from the water shortly before 1pm and called for an ambulance despite no apparent signs of life. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene at 2.19pm.
A pathologist’s report confirmed the cause of death as drowning, with post-mortem tests for drugs and alcohol coming back “essentially negative”.
Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Allen said Mr Elkins acted alone and there was “some degree of planning to what he did”. Mr Allen said: “This was a deliberate act. He took his own life and intended to do so.”
The coroner also expressed his condolences to Mr Elkins’ friends and family.
The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or at www.samaritans.org