The mother of a young man who committed suicide by inhaling helium – because of worries and debt problems – is urging students with similar anxieties to seek help.
Toby Thorn, 23, a student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, took his own life on July 10. His body was found by a dog walker, lying in a field off Lynn Road, Ely.
The “articulate and friendly” student, who was a lodger at the Ely home of his friend Graham Henderson, had tied a bin liner filled with helium around his head and suffocated himself.
Mr Thorn’s mum, Anne Thorn, is urging people who have suicidal thoughts to speak about their problems instead of trying to deal with them alone.
Speaking to the News, she said: “I don’t want Toby’s death to be in vain. He was an extremely intelligent young man. He was articulate and friendly.
“His death was a huge shock to us all – it came completely out of the blue. Neither myself nor any of his friends had any idea that he was considering taking his own life.”
At the inquest on Friday, coroner William Morris recorded a verdict that Mr Thorn killed himself.
The inquest heard how Mr Thorn had dropped out of studying computing at ARU last summer before returning in September. He then dropped out completely.
Speaking at the inquest, Mr Henderson said: “Toby was an extremely funny and carefree person. We were very close friends. There was never anything that made me worry that he was considering taking his own life.”
The inquest heard Mr Thorn was £3,000 in debt.
Next to his body, police found a cylinder of helium, a suitcase and a notebook. Letters and bank statements were inside the suitcase. There was also a half-litre bottle of vodka, of which there was a third left.
Mrs Thorn said: “I would urge anyone out there, especially students, who are having suicidal thoughts to seek counselling or speak to someone. There is help available.”
Julie Walkling, ARU’s director of student services, said: “Anglia Ruskin’s student services provides a range of support to students who may be experiencing challenges with their study, emotional wellbeing or financial worries.
“We would encourage all students to seek help as soon as possible.”