Doncaster bomb blast man’s lonely death

An IRA bomb blast in London's Canary Wharf on February 9, 1996.
An IRA bomb blast in London's Canary Wharf on February 9, 1996.
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A man whose life spiralled out of control after he witnessed a terrorist bomb atrocity died alone in a Doncaster bedsit.

The body of Karl Steven Coleman was so badly decomposed that medical experts have been unable to ascertain a cause of death.

Although the 42-year-old had expressed suicidal thoughts after saying he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the explosion, his sister said she did not believe he would take his own life.

A Doncaster inquest was also told Mr Coleman had frittered away a substantial fortune inherited from his father, and built up large debts after the money had gone.

He was a recovering alcoholic and had a number of health problems, including diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver.

Mr Coleman’s sister, Christine Wilkinson, said he had moved to London after their mother died when he was 22 and had not kept in touch until he moved back in 2008 when his father was ill.

While working as a security officer in London he had witnessed the effects of the Provisional IRA truck bomb that exploded in Canary Wharf in 1996, killing two people.

Mrs Wilkinson said after their father’s death her brother had inherited ‘a substantial amount of money – but within two years it had gone’.

“Karl and I didn’t really have anything to do with each other, because he had been given a chance and didn’t take it,” she said.

She said their father wished he’d changed his will because Karl was not very good with money. After Mr Coleman’s death she learned he was ‘in a massive amount of debt’.

Although Mr Coleman told mental health workers he had been diagnosed with PTSD after suffering flashbacks from the bomb attack, they found no documentary evidence of the diagnosis.

Coroner Nicola Mundy said she could not rule out suicide – ‘it is a possibility, I put it no higher than that’ – but was left with no alternative but to record an open verdict.