Suicide guide slammed after man's death

A BBC News report told how retired teacher, Walter Appleby, used the book The Final Exit as a manual to kill himself.

The cause of death was asphyxiation due to helium toxicity and a plastic bag.

Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford said he was surprised and concerned by the easy availability of such information.

" I would express my concern that these types of techniques are available to people," Bedford said.

Mr Bedford said: "I like to think I have seen most things but I am surprised at this."

"This information is all too easy to access and nothing I can say or do can change that.

"I would express my concern that these types of techniques are available to people."

The inquest at Reading Civic Centre heard how Mr Appleby, who "never recovered from the death of his mother" in 1996 had taken his life in July this year.

Mr Appleby's GP, Dr Nicola Brock, said, "I am not surprised that he (killed himself) because for years and years he had been saying he would. "

On a table next to his body was a copy of The Final Exit with the relevant chapter photocopied and highlighted. Beside the manual was a will and funeral instructions.

Mr Appleby's GP, Nicola Brock, told the inquest: "I would not have thought of this manner (of taking his life) but I am not surprised that he did it because for years and years he had been saying he would."

She said Mr Appleby, an only child, had had an obsessive compulsive disorder and had become increasingly incapable of doing practical things, taking up to six hours to finish his "rituals" in order to get dressed.

The death of the mother he had had lived with all his life after his father died while he was a child had further depressed him, said Mr Appleby's cousin Deryck Crossley, from Wantage.