Debt problems led to popular Portsmouth DJ’s suicide in woods

Matt Berry, pictured at the wedding of his sister Rebecca
Matt Berry, pictured at the wedding of his sister Rebecca
The memorial celebrating Portsmouth's great boxers is unveiled by Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Ken Ellcome and boxer Joel McIntyre Picture: Neil Marshall (171035-23)

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A FAMILY have spoken of their heartache after a popular DJ was ‘driven to suicide’ by rising debts of at least £78,000.

Matt Berry was on the verge of losing his flat when he was found hanged in March.

An inquest held this week heard the 34-year-old had received several letters from bailiffs and other companies demanding money.

Coroner Grahame Short said the eviction notice ‘drove him to do what he did.’

Matt, from Victoria Road South, in Southsea, had quit his job in 2012 and expected to find employment quickly. But after a few interviews, he remained jobless.

His parents, Edwina and Ken, gave him money for his mortgage and bills but he ‘spent it elsewhere’.

But Matt’s family want him to be remembered as a ‘wonderful person’.

His sister Rebecca Glew said: ‘Our beloved Matt is not defined by his death but by his life.

‘I want him to be remembered with love, because that’s what he was all about.

‘He never judged anyone, and, after his death, we found out that he touched so many people’s lives.

‘He was a wonderful person full of smiles and laughter and just a kind, good-hearted son, grandson, brother, uncle and friend.’

In a statement, Matt’s dad Ken said: ‘We tried to speak to Matt about his debt but he shrugged it off. We’ve since found out the extent of his debt and the money we gave him was being spent on other things.

‘After visiting the house we found lots of letters in a drawer from a number of companies telling him to pay.

‘I rang his bank immediately and postponed the eviction but I couldn’t contact Matt to tell him.’

Ken added: ‘We tried to get him to tell us about his debts but he wouldn’t.

‘As I saw it, he thought he had lost our trust. There was no other option but to end his own life.

‘In his eyes, he had lost just about everything he had – our trust, his flat and his credibility.

‘He must have thought he asked enough of us.’

Matt, who DJed in Drift Bar in Southsea and had worked at shows in London, left his flat on March 26 and was reported missing to the police after his friends found a note in his bedroom.

His body was found in the early hours of Saturday, March 29, by police officers who saw his car parked near woods in Hambledon.

In his conclusion Mr Short said: ‘As a result of losing his job, Matt had money problems.

‘They seemed to get worse and worse in the last three months of his life.

‘It is clear that Matt refused help from friends and family who became very concerned for him.’

He added: ‘Matt died due to hanging. He left notes for his flatmates, his former girlfriend and there were two notes in his car. In the notes, it plays to the fact that he felt he was a failure.’