Cyanide gas involved in death

Crook Coroners Court
Crook Coroners Court

Cyanide gas was found in the car where a student, originally from Kimberley, tragically took his own life just days before his university graduation, an inquest was told.

Andrew Etches, 23, had passed his final exams for a BSc in computer science from Durham University when he took his own life on June 26.

His body was found by workmen in his blue Vauxhall Corsa, which was parked on a back road off the A690 behind the Stonebridge pub, near Neville’s Cross, Durham City.

An inquest at Crook Coroner’s Court, County Durham, heard that Mr Etches was in the back seat of the car.

A special constable smashed open the car window, though the keys were later found on the roof.

When chemicals were found in the car, the fire service was called in and the area was cleared with a special toxic chemical unit called in.

Firefighters found evidence of hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen sulphide.

The inquest heard Mr Etches created the gas using household items.

It has been reported that he tried to write a note warning others of the gas.

Detective Sergeant Steve Smyth, who investigated the death, said there were no 
suspicious circumstances.

Pathologist Dr Mitul 
Sharma told the hearing Mr Etches died from hypoxia – a lack of oxygen. Other bruising was found on his body.

County Durham and Darlington Coroner Andrew Tweddle concluded that Mr Etches had taken his own life.