4 Jun 2013

Self-inflicted death due to quakes, coroner rules

6:55 pm on 4 June 2013

A coroner has found the Canterbury earthquakes led to the self-inflicted death of a Christchurch man.

Coroner Sue Johnson said Phillip Cooke was normally a happy person, but became deeply depressed after the damaging quakes.

Ms Johnson said the KiwiRail employee was a balanced, even-keeled and stable person who was actively involved in the community.

She said the quake in February 2011 severely damaged the Avonside house where Mr Cooke lived with his mother Shirley, forcing them to move.

After the quake, Mr Cooke went downhill and became increasingly stressed about house insurance, which led to treatment for depression.

On 17 January 2012, Mr Cooke dressed, made his lunch and told his mother he was going to work. She found his body later that day in their home.

The coroner has ruled Mr Cooke's depression and death can be traced back to the quakes. She said the death could not have been prevented.