Accidental death verdict on South Harting publican found hanged

THE DEATH of a South Harting pub landlord who hanged himself was accidental.

An inquest held at Chichester Magistrates’ Court was told Peter Davies, 37, was discovered hanging from the bar in the White Hart Pub by his fiancé, Hayley Thomas, 27.

Miss Thomas, ran The White Hart pub with Mr Davies and told the inquest they were forced to give notice due to financial reasons.

“He was devastated. He always wanted to run a pub, it was his dream. In the last few months his general well-being had deteriorated,” said Miss Thomas.

The inquest heard on a number of occasions Mr Davies had tied material around his neck and sent Miss Thomas a text message informing her.

A post-mortem recorded the cause of death as due to a neck ligature.

The inquest heard Mr Davies had been drinking all day on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 and had not been to bed.

After being told Mr Davies would be coming up to bed shortly, Miss Thomas heard the sound of bar stools moving downstairs. She went back downstairs to collect a drink and discovered Mr Davies hanging from the bar at 12.53am.

“I thought he was messing around. I tried to get him down and lift him above his knees but I couldn’t lift him. I tried to get help,” she said.

Miss Thomas found a note written by Mr Davies, saying: “I have known for a while but tonight it was confirmed.”

She believed the note could have referred to his relationship with other villagers.

“I believe something went horribly wrong. I think he was hoping I’d find him quickly enough,” she added.

Michael Kendall, assistant coroner said there had to be clear evidence Mr Davies intended to die.

“On previous occasions, he tied rope or other material around his neck, but in this case he did so in order to attract attention.

“He wrote a note saying he knew for sometime but the only evidence I have is to do with his relationship with the village. It’s not clear information from that note that he actually intended to die.”