Businessman's stairs fall death remains a mystery

A WELL-KNOWN Suffolk businessman fell to his death while on anti-depressives prescribed after the collapse of his company, an inquest heard.

Laurence Cawley

A WELL-KNOWN Suffolk businessman fell to his death while on anti-depressives

prescribed after the collapse of his company, an inquest heard.

Clive Thomas, 52, the former managing director of Anglia Recruitment Group, was reported dead by his wife Jan at their home in Coddenham Road, Needham Market, in May last year after she found him lying at the bottom of the stairs.

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During an inquest held in Bury St Edmunds yesterday, it emerged the businessman, who was also a past chairman of the Suffolk branch of the Institute of Directors and raised tens of thousands of pounds for a range of charities, had suffered “severe” depression after his firm went into liquidation.

It was heard that two separate post mortem examinations to determine the cause of death had proved inconclusive.

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Chief Inspector Nick Bennett said Mr Thomas had suffered a “nasty injury” to the back of his head during the fall but this had not caused his death.

He said during the police investigation it emerged Mr Thomas had endured “quite a severe episode of stress” when his business went into liquidation earlier in the year for which he was prescribed medication.

Ch Insp Bennett told how toxicology tests revealed Mr Thomas, who had an enlarged heart, had consumed alcohol prior to his death and would have been “unsteady on his feet” at the time of fall.

He also said foul play had been ruled out.

Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean attributed cause of death to “postural asphyxiation”, which meant Mr Thomas was unable to breathe because of the way he was lying at the foot of the stairs.

“We are not exactly sure how the fall actually occurred,” he said before recording a narrative verdict that Mr Thomas had died from consequences of a fall down the stairs.

After the hearing, Mr Thomas's widow Jan Thomas thanked the staff at the coroner's office for their support and help and told how the medication her husband was taking before his death had made him “dozy”.

Mr Thomas's mother Cathy Meadows added: “We still don't know what happened. There are lots of questions in my mind - but what can you do?” she asked. “He did lots of things for charities. I am very proud of him. He was such a good and kindly man and he was always trying to help other people. I still really cannot believe he has gone. He was such a lovely son to me. I just can't believe it - it was such a shock. I just can't get over this - he was my only son.''

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