by Catherine George
A young chef struggling to save for his wedding hanged himself on the day he heard he was to lose his franchise at London's Apollo theatre in Victoria, an inquest heard last week.
Jonathan Atkins, the 29-year-old son of a prominent Stafford businessman, was found hanging in his home in Battersea, London, on 23 June by his flatmate. A self-employed chef at the Apollo, Atkins was told earlier that day that he would lose his franchise from July.
PC Robert Jones told Westminster Coroners Court that he went to Atkins's flat on 23 June. Jones added: "On the ceiling of a small bedroom there was a metal hook and a piece of rope hanging from the hook. The deceased had already been cut down, I believe by his flatmate. The other piece of rope was still around Mr Atkins's neck. He was lying face down on the bed."
Coroner's officer Roy Campbell said: "Jonathan got engaged in 1997 and was due to get married in 1998. The expenses of the wedding were getting rather high and he was becoming concerned." He added that the rent on the flat was a month in arrears, and the current month's rentoverdue.
Pathologist Dr Robert Chapman gave the cause of death as hanging, adding that traces of cocaine and cannabis found in his body had not contributed to his death. A verdict of suicide was recorded.