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Man struggled with gambling addiction for years, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 17:52 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:53 05 August 2019

David Armstrong who during his lifetime was open about his gambling addiction. Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017

David Armstrong who during his lifetime was open about his gambling addiction. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

An 'incredibly private man' who struggled with a gambling problem for several years took his own life, an inquest has heard.

David Armstrong who wrote a book about the abuse he experienced as a young person. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDavid Armstrong who wrote a book about the abuse he experienced as a young person. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

David Armstrong, 72, from Norwich was found unresponsive on Barnham Cross Common, in Thetford by a member of the public on Sunday, March 17.

At an inquest into his death held at Norfolk Coroner's court on Monday, the court heard how Mr Armstrong had led a difficult life, suffering physical and emotional abuse as a teenager which had left him with life-long physical and mental health problems.

The court also heard how he had a long running gambling addiction, which had cost him his life savings, home and which he had sought help for on a number of occasions over the years.

John Graham, a friend of Mr Armstrong's said: "David was an incredibly private man, with a well documented troubled life and known to be a gambling addict.

"It was a great shock to me to learn [David] had taken his own life. When I last saw him two weeks before his death he was in good spirits, it was also a shock to discover he might have been homeless as he was always well dressed, old school neat."

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The court also heard from Mr Armstrong's GP and members of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust Wellbeing service who treated Mr Armstrong on several occasions during 2018, including in November following a deliberate overdose.

Dr James Courtenay, Mr Armstrong's GP told the court that when he last saw him on January 22, Mr Armstrong reported no thoughts of self harm or suicide and was seeking support from Gamblers Anonymous.

The court also heard from the police officers who attended Barnham Cross Common on March 17. In their evidence they said Mr Armstrong was found with a note on him which requested that he not be resuscitated and that funeral arrangements had been made.

Mr Armstrong's cause of death was given as hanging.

Coming to a conclusion of suicide. Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk said: "Clearly this is case which highlights, the adverse affects of gambling addiction."

The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123.

Support for gambling can be found via www.gamcare.org.uk

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