Much Wenlock man stabbed himself, inquest finds

By Jonny Drury | Much Wenlock | News | Published:

A former IT network engineer with a history of mental health issues died in a caravan near Much Wenlock from two self inflicted stab wounds, an inquest has heard.

Lawrence Vandyke, 39, lived in a caravan on a farm in Weston, and an inquest into his death on Wednesday at Shirehall heard how he died from two stab wounds on August 13.

A summary regarding Mr Vandyke was read out at the inquest by coroner's office Clare Hope, who explained how he lived in a static caravan near to his brother on the farm, and he had suffered mental health issues for around 10 years.

In 2008, he was referred to the substance misuse team for a cocaine addiction, and suffered from psychosis and had spent time at The Redwood Centre in Shrewsbury.

His family said he would suffer psychotic episodes, and that is what happened on the night of his death.

They said he "did crazy things, would be out of control and was not recognisable."

A statement from his family said he smoked cannabis and didn't drink to excess.

On the day of his death, he had approached his brother Chris on the farm and asked to speak to him, however his brother did not stop what he was doing, and Lawrence left.

Chris thought this was an overreaction, and at 9.50pm that evening, while washing some brushes near to Lawrence's caravan, he heard glass smashing and him saying: "I am out of control, call the police. I need sectioning."


He added: "I can't explain what is happening, I am going to die tonight. Go and get the police or else I will kill myself."

He also told his brother Chris to tell police he had a gun and a knife.


At 10.35pm police arrived and Lawrence repeated threats to kill himself, before a firearms team was called to the scene.


There was no movement from the caravan and at 11.35pm, the firearms officers went in and found Lawrence with two stab wounds to his chest.

Paramedics were called in and CPR took place, before Lawrence was confirmed dead at 12.34am.

Coroner John Ellery said body worn video camera had picked up footage of the act that led Lawrence's death, and said it was clear he intended to kill himself.

He also told the inquest that West Mercia Police referred the case to the IOPC, who found there was no suggestion the officers played a significant part in the death.

He said: "I record a conclusion of suicide, while the balance of his mind was disturbed."

Need help?

Help and advice for those having a mental health crisis is available from a number of agencies in Shropshire.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.


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