Law student killed himself 'after smoking cannabis gave him paranoia'

A Hull University student tragically took his own life just six weeks before he was due to complete his law degree.

Father-of-one Phil Taylor, 32, was found hanged in his home in Manvers Street, west Hull, on April 17 by his family, who broke inside after not hearing from him for more than a week.

Mr Taylor was known to suffer from depression and had also smoked cannabis from the age of 16, which had 'caused him paranoia and anxiety' in the past and could have contributed towards his negative mental state, according to mental health experts.

Paying tribute, his mother, Pamela Taylor, told Hull Live Phil had a great sense of humour and worked hard.

'Phil was so funny and that is definitely something that his son has also inherited from him. He was so hard working as well and always achieved whatever he put his mind to,' said Mrs Taylor.

'Hull University awarded him posthumously with a first in his law degree based on all the work that he had completed and his dissertation that he submitted and I went along to the university to collect his certificate on his behalf.

'He was a very self determined person and very well loved by his family and friends'.

Giving evidence at an inquest into his death at Hull Coroner's Court, Mrs Taylor said her son was born in Beverley and was the second eldest of four children.

He attended school in Bridlington after the family moved in his teens and studied art at East Riding College before dropping out.

She said Phil's problems with cannabis escalated, though, and he was asked to leave the family home in 2006.

After meeting his ex-partner in 2009, he started to turn his life around and the couple had a baby boy in 2011, before Phil went on to study law at the University of Hull in 2015.

'Phil's relationship was up and down and he didn't live with his partner or child but continued to study for his degree and did well, and even won the Top Student Award in 2017,' she said.

'He was never one to keep in touch though, and from September 2018 he contacted me less and less and was convinced that people were after him and never wanted to leave the house or come over to see me.

'I thought that it was the cannabis that must have been making him so paranoid.'

After Mrs Taylor had not heard from her son for more than a week, she became concerned for his safety so went to his house with her daughter and son-in-law before breaking in.

They tragically found Phil, who had left a suicide note on his bed.

Phil had been taking anti-depressants since 2013 and had seemingly managed his condition up to April 7, when he had an episode of 'stress induced psychosis' brought on by cannabis use, according to mental health nurse, Michelle Tennant.

Ms Tennant said she assessed Phil in his home before taking him to Miranda House for his own safety before he was later discharged.

A significant event analysis report by mental health nurse Tony Ladley showed that the care delivered to Mr Taylor was in keeping with standard practices and that no changes to their approach was needed.

'Phil Taylor was in his final year of studying law and was a gym weight and training enthusiast that looked after himself,' Mr Ladley told the court.

'He smoked cannabis from his teen years and smoked spice occasionally, but was defensive about the effect of cannabis on his mental health.

'It is hard to know if his suicide was caused by a depressive episode that he kept well hidden, or stress induced psychosis as a result of substance misuse.

'The association with cannabis does effect people's mental health and not in a good way.

'There was very little more that the mental health services could have done to help and the clinicians involved in Phil's care were shocked and surprised to learn of his death.'

HM area coroner Rosemary Baxter said there was evidence of cannabis in Phil's system from the toxicology report.

She recorded a conclusion of suicide.

stella Posted on October 25, 2019 14:27

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