Mystery of tragic poet’s final weeks before death

Martin Lucas
Martin Lucas
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A Preston poet found dead on a Lancashire beach had been trying to wean himself off medication for a long-standing mental health problem, his family has revealed.

Academic Martin Lucas, 51, had been receiving treatment for the condition for around 30 years before suddenly giving up his prescription drugs, said younger brother Peter.

“Martin needed regular medication to successfully control his illness,” said Peter.

“But for weeks leading up to his death, for reasons we don’t understand, he decided to 
try and come off the medication.

“We don’t quite know what was going through his mind when he disappeared or how conscious he was of what he was doing.

“I don’t think anyone is in a position to say why this happened.

“But I think it’s fair to say it could have been connected with his coming off the medication.”

Martin, who had a degree in English literature, a Masters in religious studies and a PhD in Japanese poetry, vanished late at night from his home 
in Fishergate, Preston, on March 21.

His body was found on the beach at St Annes three weeks later.

Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.

The family of the civil servant described Martin as a “gentle person” who had a wide range of interests including birdwatching, the environment and table tennis.

“He was a busy and active kind of person,” said Peter.

“He was a keen birdwatcher and had travelled as far afield as Australia, Florida and St Kilda to pursue his hobby.

“He spent a lot of time locally at Martin Mere and on the banks of the Ribble, where he would also organise litter picks along the river.

“He was a published poet and he had a particular interest in Japanese poetry from his time at university.

“The three weeks he was missing were a horribly anxious time for us.

“We were all aware that we might have seen the last of him, although we didn’t want to come to that conclusion.

“In a way, when his body was found, it has at least meant the healing process can begin for us.

“It would have been an awful situation not to have known what happened.

“The messages of support, sympathy and understanding have really helped the family.”

Martin’s funeral will be at 12.15 on Friday, May 2, at St Wilfrid’s RC Church in Chapel Street, Preston.

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