Uncertainty over death

TRAGIC SCENE: Carleton cemetery
TRAGIC SCENE: Carleton cemetery
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A MAN found dead in his car in a Fylde coast cemetery may not have intended to kill himself, a coroner has ruled.

Blackpool coroner Anne Hind said she couldn’t be sure James Melrose Vance had meant to kill himself when he overdosed on co-codamol tablets just two days before Christmas.

A note was found alongside the 55-year-old in his car at Carleton Crematorium, but at an inquest Mrs Hind said although the levels of codeine and paracetamol in his blood were “higher than therapeutic” they were “well down on what you would perceive to be a fatal dose”.

The inquest heard Carlisle-born Mr Vance, who was living on Fleetwood’s Martindale Avenue, had been suffering from depression after being forced to leave his job as a tyre and exhaust fitter.

He was forced to quit his position due to ill-health and would often “take off” and go for a walk to clear his head, the inquest was told.

Describing how her husband had left the house at around 5.30pm the day before he was found, his wife, Jacqueline, said she did not believe he meant to die.

She added: “When he was gone for a couple of hours I didn’t worry, but then it was really, really cold.

“I phoned the police and said I was worried.

“I don’t think if this is what has happened he meant for it to happen.”

PC Gareth Evans found Mr Vance in his car around 10.15am on December 23, 2010.

The inquest heard the medical cause of death was poisoning by co-codamol, but Mrs Hind said while she was sure he intended to take the tablets, she couldn’t be certain he meant to kill himself.

A verdict of misadventure was recorded.