The parents of a man who killed himself in his university room say they believe online gaming may have led to their ‘sensitive’ son becoming isolated and depressed.
University of Hull student Matthew Beaumont, 21, from Doncaster, was found hanged in his room at Ashcourt student accommodation in north Hull, on November 29 last year by his flatmate.
His parents, who described him as an ‘absolute joy’ to bring up, said Mr Beaumont was a ‘big gamer’ and his death came as a complete shock.
University of Hull student Matthew Beaumont, 21, (pictured) was found hanged in his room at Ashcourt student accommodation in north Hull, on November 29 last year by his flatmate
‘We had absolutely no idea that he was anywhere near that state of mind,’ said Mr Beaumont’ father, Stephen Beaumont. ‘Matthew was a big gamer.’
‘He loved playing a game called Assassin’s Creed. He loved his FIFA games, too. Gaming causes isolation and disconnection from reality. That’s a real problem.’
An inquest into his death on Monday at Hull Coroner’s Court heard Mr Beaumont had spoken to his mother, Linda, just two days before his death. She said Mr Beaumont sounded ‘tired’ and frustrated’ on the telephone. ‘I said, ‘I love you Matt’, and he said, ‘I love you, too’,’ she said.
‘There was nothing about the phone call that made me think he was desperate. Frustrated, yes. But not desperate.
Mr Beaumont’s body was found in his room at the Ashcourt student accommodation in Hull
‘Matthew was an absolute joy to bring up. He was so sensitive to how others felt.’
Tests after his death showed a small amount of cannabis was in Mr Beaumont’s blood, and his friend told the hearing Mr Beaumont would often smoke the drug in communal areas of their flat, as well as in the shower in his room.
Pathologist Dr Lorenzo Karsai gave hanging as the medical cause of death, but said cannabis could have impaired ‘cognitive functions’.
His flatmate said he had last spoken to Mr Beaumont three days before his death, and said the film studies and creative writing student seemed ‘disconnected’.
‘Matthew seemed a bit strange,’ said the final-year biomedical science student. ‘It was like I kept catching him mid sentence, if you know what I mean. He seemed disconnected.
‘We all tended to say ‘goodnight’ positively to each other, However, as I went upstairs, he just said ‘yeah’ as if he was not that bothered.’
On the day before his body was found, Mr Beaumont’s flatmate and other friends agreed if they did not see him before 4pm on the Wednesday, they would go into his room.
When the deadline passed, they summoned a staff member to unlock the door using a key card, and Mr Beaumont’s body was discovered.
The hearing heard Mr Beaumont, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, had not sought help from the University’s pastoral services.
He had no assignments due or significant money worries, and had updated his CV two weeks before his death.
Rosemary Baxter, area coroner for Hull and the East Riding, said it was clear Mr Beaumont, who was due to graduate this summer, had died ‘by his own hand’.
However, she said she was unable to conclude that he had intended to take his own life.
His parents are now encouraging other young people to talk more openly about their feelings.
‘There is less of a stigma around mental health in workplaces,’ said Stephen. ‘But I don’t know if that’s the same for colleges.’
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