Drowning victim died after years battling illness

Martin Lucas

Martin Lucas

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A man who suffered from decades of mental health issues was found dead on a beach after drowning, an inquest heard.

Martin Lucas, 51, of Fishergate Hill, Preston, vanished late at night from his home on March 21.

A police investigation was launched, but his body was found on the beach at St Annes on April 14, three weeks after he had disappeared.

Blackpool coroner’s court was told Mr Lucas, a tax credit officer, had been receiving treatment for a long-standing mental health problem for around 30 years.

The court heard Mr Lucas had attempted to reduce his medication, Olanzapine, an antipsychotic drug, on several occasions, but suffered from relapses and breakdowns when he did so, always being forced to restart the drug.

He had visited his doctors twice in four months in a bid to reduce his medication earlier this year and had been referred to a Lancashire mental health team for treatment – but went missing before his first appointment.

The inquest heard Mr Lucas’s brother, Peter, had received a phone call on March 20 informing him his brother had been sent home from work ill.

After visiting his sibling and staying over at the property, he woke to find Mr Lucas had left, taking no food or drink and leaving his keys inside the front door.

A search was launched to find the missing man, with his body found around 7.45am on April 14 near St Annes Pier by a Fylde Council haulage contractor, the inquest was told.

A post-mortem into his death found he had been in the sea for around seven to 10 days, with a small amount of alcohol in his system.

Recording a narrative verdict, Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson said: “From the evidence provided it cannot be said how he was in the sea. Following an investigation launched on April 17 and concluded on September 30, I find the medical cause of death was drowning.”

After the hearing, Peter Lucas said: “He was such a gentle man. He was intelligent, articulate and sensitive.

“He had lived a very full life and travelled all over the world. It is the sad story of someone who had lived with mental health (issues) for many years.”