Joiner took his own life

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A JOINER took his own life after arguing with his former partner.

Alan Higgins, 40, from Hetton, died at the unoccupied house in Calvert Terrace, Murton, from carbon monoxide poisoning.

An inquest at the Coroner’s Court in Crook was told police were called in the early hours of February 16 to the Seaham home of Mr Higgins’s former partner, Gemma Muncaster, when she activated a panic alarm.

Detective Constable Joanna Coulthard said: “Alan Higgins was on police bail for an assault on Gemma.

“She said he had been to her house and threatened her with a knife, and said he intended to kill himself.

“He took Gemma’s mobile phone. When a colleague rang it, he said he wanted to kill himself.”

Mr Higgins’s body was found after an officer broke into the house in Murton.

A gas engineer said a plastic flue had been deliberately removed from the top of the boiler, allowing a large volume of poisonous fumes to vent into the kitchen.

Deputy Durham Coroner Crispin Oliver said: “I am sadly drawn to the conclusion he took his own life.”

l Verdict: Alan Higgins took his own life.