Man with diabetes took his own life because he ‘could not bear’ self-isolating

Ben Mitchell, PA
·2-min read

A man suffering from diabetes took his own life because he “could not bear the thought” of self-isolating during the first lockdown, an inquest has heard.

Daniel Furniss, who also suffered from depression, was found dead at his home in Waterlooville, Hampshire, on March 27, a few days after the country was ordered to stay at home in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daniel Furniss (Family handout/PA)

An inquest at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard that the 34-year-old’s mental health worsened after his Personal Independence Payment benefit had been stopped and because of the lockdown rules.

The hearing was told that Mr Furniss had also been bullied over his sexuality and had struggled with the death of his former partner four years previously.

His mother, Anita Harper-Sterling, said: “He couldn’t bear the thought of living on his own.

“He hadn’t been sleeping well, he was worried about the Covid.”

Giving a verdict of suicide, coroner Jason Pegg said: “He was a colourful man, a sociable man and a very much loved man.

“In February/March, Dan had one of his key benefits stopped, that did not assist his situation and added to his troubles.

“In March, Covid-19 raised its head within this country and indeed globally and the evidence I have heard is that Dan knew that he was going to struggle having to go into lockdown.

“He could not bear the thought of staying in and despite the offers made by a very supportive family, Dan wanted to stay living in the place he had made his home.”

Following his death, Mr Furniss’s sister, Chelsea, said better guidance should have been given to those with mental health problems who needed to self-isolate.

She said: “Dan had a long history of mental health issues and one of the things he struggled with was being on his own.

“He lived on his own but would go out every day. Dan had diabetes and was classed as a high-risk person so after lockdown he was unable to go out which we think pushed him over the edge.

“We were concerned about him being in isolation and stayed in touch but were not able to see him. We tried our best and let him know we were there for him.

“More could be done to help people who are struggling while self-isolating. Hopefully what’s happened with Dan can raise awareness of these issues.”

Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day by calling 116 123.