Suicide man says Facebook farewell

An American man who fell in love with a Portsmouth woman over the internet killed himself while on a visit, an inquest heard.

Chad Comins changed his Facebook status to 'Nighty night night. Goodbye' before taking a fatal dose of anti-depressants, following an argument with Vikki Gates.

At 4pm that day he was found dead in bed by Vikki's mother Christine Gardner at her home in Oakley Court, Outram Road, Southsea, on May 30 last year.

Mr Comins, 31, who lived in New York State, had been staying with Christine for three weeks and had hoped to move to Portsmouth to be with Vikki, permanently.

But Vikki, 37, who has two teenage daughters and a grandson, was reluctant to rush into anything and says he began to get impatient.

In their last conversation at about 1.30am that day they talked on Facebook and argued over his persistence. Vikki then deleted him as a friend.

Mr Comins then sought advice from Christine, 56, who had also become a close friend, who told him it would be fine and to go to bed.

She discovered him dead about 14 hours later.

She said: 'I thought "I have still not heard anything from him" and I started to get an uneasy feeling that something was not right.

'I was loath to go in his room because I wanted to give him his personal space, but in the end I had no choice.

'The curtains were closed when I got in and when I went round the bed I realised something was afoot. I phoned the ambulance but I could see that he had passed away.'

Vikki, of Blackfriars Road, Somers Town, said: 'When my mum told me he was dead it was unreal, we were not expecting it.

'I kept thinking "it has got to be a mistake", it still has not sunk in.

'He did used to have some blow-outs but there was nothing out of the ordinary this time. We just had a really big bust up.

'He used to have his moments where he would be hysterical with me but I was not expecting him to do anything like that.'

In an inquest held at Portsmouth Guildhall PC Colin Green, from Fratton police station, said Chad had already been dead for 10 to 12 hours when he was found.

David Horsley, coroner for Portsmouth and south east Hampshire, recorded a verdict that Mr Comins had taken his own life.

AN INTERNET ROMANCE

Chad met Vikki in March 2008 on an art website and they began a relationship soon after.

They fell in love and talked every day by webcam or telephone.

Vikki, who was studying a BA in fine art at the University of Portsmouth at the time, said: 'I never believed that you could fall for someone on the internet. We just got on so well, he was just such a lovely person.

Chad first visited Portsmouth in January last year for a week and returned again in May.

Chad's depression worsened after the sudden death of a close uncle in October 2008. He then spent four days in a mental health hospital in America.

Chad, who was working in sales, had hoped to get a working visa and study a PhD in astrophysics at the University of Portsmouth.