'Brilliant' Sheffield student who battled mental health problems took his own life

The inquest was heard at Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre
The inquest was heard at Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre

A 'brilliant' Sheffield student who was 'the life and soul' died after taking his own life after fighting a lengthy battle with mental health problems.

Mark Cooke, aged 35, of Hawksworth Road, Walkley, was found dead after a sending an email to his boss informing him of his actions.

The University of Sheffield's microbiology centre is based at Firth Court

The University of Sheffield's microbiology centre is based at Firth Court

The University of Sheffield PhD student was studying microbiology, an inquest at Sheffield's Medico Legal Centre heard.

Mr Cooke, who saw six different Sheffield NHS mental health services, was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome during his contact with health care professionals. He was found dead at his address on September 18, 2016.

Family and friends paid tribute to Mr Cooke who said his work studying cures for infectious diseases 'kept him going' and described it as 'his life'.

Mr Cooke's mother Christine paid tribute to her son. She said: "Mark lost his battle with his mental health and he will be sadly missed by everyone who love and knew him.

"He was supported throughout by the university and his neighbours and I can't thank them enough for that."

Mark's boss Prof Simon Foster added: "Simon he was a brilliant chap, he really was a lot of fun.

"He was really intense but he was also the life of soul of the place and such a fantastic guy everybody loved him and he put a smile on people's faces."

The hearing heard Mr Cooke had 'suicidal thoughts' and suffered from a history of anxiety and depression. The 35-year-old was also treated on the Burbage mental health ward after his fiancée broke off their relationship.

The inquest also heard Mr Cooke was 'concerned' about his medication he was given which increased his heart rate.

Professor Simon Foster, Mr Cooke's boss and friend told the court how he came to know about Mark's plan to take his own life.

"It was early evening on the Sunday, I checked my phone as you do and checked my emails. I saw one from Mark at around 33.0pm thinking I wouldn't see it until Monday.”.

Assistant coroner David Urpeth gave a conclusion of suicide.

"It is clear to me that Mr Cooke suffered with mental health for some time," he said.

"He decided to take his own life. That is a tragedy for himself and everyone that he leaves behind. I offer my sincere condolences."

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