University of Portsmouth student took his own life after fears over upcoming exams

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide
The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide
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A MAN with ‘crippling anxiety’ took his own life after struggling under the pressure of exams, an inquest heard.

Paul Winn, 46, was found hanged at Rees Hall, Southsea Terrace, more than a week after he was thought to have died, Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard.

The deceased had battled mental health problems for years and had struggled to overcome ‘intrusive thoughts’, having previously overdosed.

While studying at Portsmouth University as a mature student, Mr Winn, who had dyslexia, was said to be worried about his upcoming exams in May last year.

‘He was unable to conquer his self doubt,’ The Rev Simon Coleman, the university chaplain, told the hearing.

‘Paul often dropped in and in the build-up to his exams was talking about his gambling addiction. He was gambling on slot machines and losing money. He was worried about his exams and was using gambling as a coping mechanism,’ Mr Coleman said.

He added that Mr Winn’s dyslexia ‘undermined his self-esteem’ despite his intelligence and faith in god.

Jaqueline Ball, senior mental health advisor at the university, said Mr Winn was in a state of helplessness after turning down offers of treatment.

‘He had crippling anxiety after his dad died and never felt safe. He had an irrational fear he would be attacked,’ she said.

Despite beating his drug and alcohol addiction, Mr Winn was unable to conquer his other demons, Ms Ball said.

Recording a suicide verdict, coroner Samantha Marsh said Mr Winn had a ‘long history of troubles and chronic anxiety which he was unsuccessful in beating’.