A CORONER has warned of the dangers of toxic substances being freely available.

At an inquest into the death of Christopher Gage, who died using nitrous oxide, Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said many dangerous substances are available online.

She said: “You do not need a licence to buy these canisters.

“Unfortunately, you can buy pretty much anything on the internet these days.

“It’s not an unusual way for someone to end their life.”

Christopher, a freelance technology engineer, was found dead at his home in Belgrave Place in Brighton on August 11.

At the inquest on Tuesday at Brighton Coroner’s Court, the court heard that Christopher’s psychotherapist, Loretta Riordan, had received an email from him which said he had taken steps to end his own life.

Coroner’s officer Ariana Palermo said: “Chris had used a programme to put a delay on the email he sent.

“Police forced an entry to Chris’ flat and found him to be unresponsive.

“An ambulance was called and they confirmed he was dead at 7.30pm.”

Ms Palermo said she had tried, but had been unable to trace where Christopher had purchased the nitrous oxide from.

The gas, which is used to produce whipped cream in the catering industry and as an anaesthetic in medicine, is also used as a recreational drug, and is illegal to sell for its psychoactive purposes.

The court heard that Chris had suffered with anxiety and depression from a young age.

Ms Hamilton-Deeley said: “These trip off the tongue a bit too easily I think.

“It is an awful thing to suffer from.

“From what I have read about Chris, he was recalcitrant to treatment.”

Christopher, who also suffered from chronic back pain, had been referred to mental health teams by his GP, but was often reluctant to engage with therapies and feared being sectioned, the court heard.

Dr Chris Jenkins, Christopher’s GP, said he did not know what else he could do but have regular phone contact with him.

He said: “It’s not a very scientific, but it’s all I could think of to help.

“I would call him regularly after my surgery.

“I think we had a good relationship and there was a level of trust in what he told me.”

Ms Hamilton Deeley praised Dr Jenkins for his efforts to support Chris.

She said: “I don’t think Chris could have had a better GP.

“Please do not change.

“From my perspective, you went way beyond the standard of what you are asked to do.”

The coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Addressing Chris’ family, she said: “It’s terribly difficult to accept, but Chris carefully pushed you away, to protect himself and to protect you.

“It is about control.

“I don’t see that anyone could have done anything differently.

“It strikes me that everyone did what they could to help him, but I’m not sure his definition of help was the same as ours.”

If you have been affected by this story, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 free of charge, or visit www.samaritans.org.