Chemist gassed himself in bedroom

Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
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A CHEMISTRY graduate killed himself by inhaling lethal fumes concocted inside his bedroom - sparking a major safety alert around the Sheffield street where he lived.

Brian Jackson’s lifeless body was found lying in a tent by a housemate at Holland Place, Highfield, near a bucket containing the poison.

In a warning to whoever found him the 30-year-old had taped a note to door, which read, ‘Keep away - get help - toxic’.

Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard Brian, who had a degree in chemistry, worked for a cleaning firm in Rotherham.

Materials were found at the scene which he could have mixed together to create the noxious chemical, the inquest was told.

Brian - described in court as a ‘nice, gentle person’ - also left two suicide notes, which indicated he was ‘not in his right mind’ when he took his own life.

Nearby houses had to be evacuated after his body was found, as emergency workers in protective suits scoured the scene and removed the chemicals.

Brian’s housemate Aneurin Cooper, who made the discovery on April 18, said he hadn’t seen his friend for two days.

In a statement, Mr Cooper said he took a pile of Brian’s belongings up to his room at around 1.45pm while tidying up.

“I knocked on the door but there was no answer,” he said. “I tried to open the door but it wouldn’t open.

“I pushed the door. I noticed tape around the frame and as I looked closer I saw a note taped to the inside edge of the door.

“I realised something was seriously wrong.”

Mr Cooper said he kicked the door open and saw a green pop-up camping tent in the room, which he said smelled ‘like eggs’. He opened the tent and saw Brian lying beside a red bucket.

“I grabbed his hand and it felt cold and lifeless,” he said. “I immediately knew it was too late.”

Forensic scientist John Slaughter told the inquest the chemical would have affected Brian’s breathing, leading to ‘immediate collapse and death within a few minutes’.

Brian was born in Kent, and moved to Sheffield 10 years ago, gaining his degree at Sheffield University. He worked as a technical support co-ordinator at Safety Kleen UK in Dinnington, checking drinking water and sewerage waste, and in his spare time enjoyed karate and running.

Brian once told Mr Cooper he felt ‘down’ sometimes. He had episodes of depression in 2000 and 2004, self-harmed by cutting his wrists, and had taken three overdoses.

Assistant deputy coroner Professor Robert Forrest recorded a verdict Brian killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed.