Bartender spoke to parents hours before he took own life in Ibiza
A bartender who flew to Ibiza took his own life after jumping from his flat’s balcony, an inquest heard.
Christopher Neate, 36, had spoken to his parents on the phone about plans to fly home just five hours before the tragedy in August last year.
His dad said Christopher had gone to Ibiza for seasonal work in March last year after suffering with his mental health.
He had gone to the Spanish island without letting his parents John and Christine know.
But despite having flown to Ibiza without telling them, Christopher had been in regular contact with his dad and mum.
John said his son seemed “positive and excited” to return home when they spoke just five hours before he died on August 13.
“We were just so relieved, that made the news that next day so much harder. He seemed like his old self,” dad John Neate told Stockport Coroner’s Court.
The next morning, on August 14, a policeman arrived at John’s door and delivered the news that his son had died.
It left the family “completely devastated”, the court heard.
Police Coroner’s Officer Rita Wilkinson also spoke in court, saying Christopher had been at his apartment on Calle Vara de Rey with his flatmates on the night he died.
She said: “From the accounts of his flatmates, up until half an hour before there was no indication this would happen.
“All of a sudden there was a trigger. Nobody knows what. They didn’t know what caused him to jump from that balcony.”
There was nothing suspicious about his death and the police were able to rule out third party involvement, the court heard.
No note was left at the scene.
PCO Wilkinson said Spanish police officers arrived at the scene at around 2am on August 14.
They were told “a male had jumped from a balcony.”
His flatmates, who identified Christopher, “knew he had jumped rather than fallen”, they said.
He had cocaine “in his system” but no illicit drugs were found at the property, the court heard.
A toxicology report showed that he also had traces of alcohol and antidepressants in his system.
The cocaine “may have affected his cognitive behaviour”, the court heard.
His cause of death was recorded as “traumatic brain injury”.
Christopher from Sale, Greater Manchester, had a history of mental health problems – he was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and then bipolar disorder in 2014.
His mental health began improving, reports the M.E.N, but by 2017 he was struggling again.
The court heard that John was told about Christopher’s struggles with addiction at the end of 2017, when he attended a psychiatric appointment.
Christopher told his dad he had taken drugs to help “stop the mental pain”.
John said: “It did come as a shock, I wasn’t aware of it. Anyone that knew him, friends and family, knew he functioned really well. When he was feeling down he did spend time in bed.
“That’s what was due to his mental health. He started using because it helped with the pain of his mental health.”
At one point, Christopher checked into the Priory, a mental health facility, for a month.
His dad told the court that his son had not told the family he had gone to Ibiza for seasonal work when he disappeared in March last year.
John said the family reported him missing to police as they were “worried about his mental health”.
“Police were fantastic, they were concerned about his vulnerability. They very quickly found out he had gone to Ibiza,” he told the court.
“Within a short time, three or four days, we managed to get hold of him, He didn’t say where he was, he said he was safe.
“I didn’t say I knew where he was, I didn’t want to scare him off. I was quite relieved he was there, he knew people there, he would be OK.”
His dad believes he went to the Spanish island so “he could start afresh, get away from the temptations here”, he said.
Christopher, who had experience working as a digital project manager, had previously done seasonal work in Ibiza, in 2013 and 2014.
He kept in touch with the family while he was in Ibiza, and “seemed to be quite happy” telling them he had work as a bartender, his dad told the court.
Friends said he was “fantastic”, worked hard and was well respected.
One thing his dad did worry about was his medication as he was on antidepressants.
“He wasn’t seeing any professionals over there”, he told the court.
“He thought he could wean himself off, but at the same time he told us he wasn’t completely off the medication”, he said.
It was on August 13, several months after he had flown out to Ibiza, that he spoke to his parents on the phone about plans to come home.
“We had a great conversation. He was positive and excited to come back. He had stuff to sort out. He was looking forward to seeing us all.
“That was about five or six hours before he died. It made his mum so happy to speak to him”, John said.
The fact that he seemed in good spirits made it harder to understand what had happened, he said.
“Had it been in mid march or 2018, we wouldn’t have been that surprised. We were always worried about the thought that he would relapse, he did say it was hard to overcome addiction”, he said.
Mr Neate told the court that his son’s death has “changed the family forever” and was “horrific”.
Coroner Alison Mutch ruled that Christopher died of suicide.
“I’m satisfied that he did intend to take his own life”, she told the court.
“What is clear from the evidence is how supportive a family he had. It is clear just how difficult the last 12 months have been for you as a family”, she said.
Speaking to the M.E.N following the inquest , John said: “You can only imagine what the shock is like. We believed everything was OK.
“To have that knock on the door, after we’d had that wonderful conversation a few hours before. Something happened in his mind, what it was I don’t know.”
Christopher was close to his younger brother Anthony and nieces Georgia who is nearly seven and Zara, aged four.
He loved spoiling them and often bought them gifts.
In a statement, John said: “He was generous, honest, loving and considerate. He resented those who treated the less fortunate badly and was very proud of his Mancunian roots.
“He had a close circle of life-long friends (male and female) who he’d known since school and kept in touch with.”