Debt-ridden worker faced losing house
A 38-YEAR-OLD warehouse worker killed himself after falling thousands of pounds into debt.
Craig Bentley was found lying face down on his bed at his Chell Heath home on March 27 after being overcome with carbon monoxide given off by barbecue charcoals.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Bentley's blood contained 59 per cent of carbon monoxide – 14 per cent more than the level deemed fatal.
An inquest into Mr Bentley's death yesterday heard how the FedEx worker had fallen into arrears with his mortgage and owed almost £6,000.
Mr Bentley, of Bishop Road, was also facing repossession proceedings on his home after he failed to pay an outstanding bill of £460 for council tax payments.
It was revealed that Mr Bentley had been in a similar situation as a teenager when his house was repossessed.
Craig's father, Paul Bentley, of Kingsley, said: "Craig distanced himself from us at times.
"He would get into money troubles and we would help him out but he wouldn't tell us about his problems until they got right to the top of the pile.
"But there was no suggestion he was in financial trouble. We had been to see him and it had just been a normal day."
Mr Bentley was discovered by his father three days following the meeting after he became concerned over his son's whereabouts.
He forced his way into the Chell Heath house and found a suicide note and a pile of final demand papers.
During the inquest, Mr Bentley's family raised concerns that he was the victim of bullying at work. But Staffordshire police investigated the claim and could find no evidence to support it.
Detective Constable Natalie Edwards, of Staffordshire Police, said: "There had been suggestions that he had been bullied while at work, but there had never been a complaint made about this.
"I did find there were quite a few absences from work and that he had had letters about this."
Mr Bentley's sister, Alison Hill, of Cheadle, said: "He was my brother and he would come down to me when he wanted to talk.
"He was very much a loner."
She added: "I believe the absence from work was from the bullying, but he is not the sort of person who would go and ask for help."
North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith confirmed that Mr Bentley died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Recording a verdict that Mr Bentley killed himself, Mr Smith said: "Mr Bentley was in considerable arrears with his mortgage payments and rates and it was clear he had not been to work as regularly as one would have expected for some time, resulting in a reduction of salary.
"The difficulty comes with knowing why he didn't go to work.
"Craig decided to take his own life because he could see a major crisis coming on and he was too frightened to admit he was in financial difficulty.
"The poor man must have been in torment and it is very sad that anybody should ever get to that point.
"It is doubly sad because there was, in fact, an answer to his problems.
"He must have been in awful turmoil mentally to do something like that."