Security guard was ‘really struggling’ before tragic death

An inquest will investigate what contact mental health services had had with a man before he was found dead.

Gary Oakes, 49, was discovered at his home in Burslem just after Christmas. An inquest opened into his death heard from his wife that he had been “really, really struggling” and using drugs.

Mr Oakes, a security worker and known as Gaz to friends and family, had been in regular contact with his GP, but this stopped after a telephone consultation on December 16.

Paramedics arrived at his home on January 3 and he was declared dead at the scene.

At the opening of the inquest into his death, Mr Oakes’ wife Debbie said: “I know his state of mind. I know because I was with him. We were separated, but we were still in contact.

“I tried to convince him to come home for Christmas, but he was in such a bad way. I know he had started using heroin because he didn’t care what happened to him.

“He was really, really struggling.”

The inquest heard Mr Oakes had struggled for a long time with mental health problems, and was also on a methadone programme as part of addiction recovery.

The report suggested that the cause of death was an overdose.

Assistant Coroner Emma Serrano adjourned the inquest, stating that more evidence was needed to be gathered to establish the contact Mr Oakes had with the mental health services in the days leading up to his death.

This was needed in order to understand “their decision making process concerning Gaz”, she said.

She added: “I am going to ask my coroner’s officer to get a statement from the crisis team and the home treatment team.

“The inquest is part-heard.”

Source – Stoke Sentinel