Tragedy of man found dead in Havant school grounds

TRAGIC Mark Gibson

TRAGIC Mark Gibson

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POLICE launched a major search operation after a man sent a text message suggesting he was going to take his own life.

An inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall heard Mark Gibson was found dead in the grounds of Havant Academy just hours later, after officers managed to pinpoint the location of his mobile phone using satellite technology.

The 35-year-old father-of- one had recently split up from his wife Jane Jesshope, who he had been married to for less than a year.

He and Ms Jesshope’s families had fallen out over the separation and Mr Gibson, who worked at a furniture shop in Waterlooville, felt under great pressure, the inquest was told.

Coroner David Horsley was told by Detective Constable Peter Bugden that Mr Gibson sent a text message to his wife, his mother Lorraine Kenyon and his sister Tracy Miller at 8.40pm on March 9 this year.

It read: ‘This is for the best,’ and directed them to a laptop where he had left several letters.

They tried calling him but the phone was switched off and police were called.

The air support unit was brought in and just before 5am the next day a police dog handler discovered Mr Gibson’s body in the grounds of what was then Staunton Community Sports College, a short distance from his home in Wakefords Way, West Leigh.

Det Con Bugden said: ‘He (Mr Gibson) had made a similar statement to take his own life in 2010 and had been found drunk in some local fields.

‘He had been subject to some quite recent domestic disputes with his wife.

‘He had been estranged quite recently and other family members had got involved. He and his wife had a difficult relationship. They had recently split having not been married very long – only in the past year.’

Mr Horsley heard how Mr Gibson was under stress at work, having been sent to a different branch. He found it difficult to get there as he didn’t have a car.

In 1996 he spent time in a psychiatric ward and in 1999 he was admitted to hospital after taking a drug overdose.

He suffered from an adjustment disorder.

A toxicology report showed Mr Gibson had a small amount of alcohol in his system when he died but it was lower than the drink drive limit.

Mr Horsley recorded a verdict that Mr Gibson took his own life.

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