A coroner’s inquest has heard that the family of a man found dead in the New Forest believe he took his own life due to the effects of a cycling crash, saying that his personality changed after he sustained a blow to the head.
The body of Jason Thomas, aged 53 and from Romsey, Hampshire, was discovered on 27 May this year in Bolderwood, around three miles west of Lyndhurst, the largest village in the national park.
He had left his home two days earlier in his car, with his family reporting him missing to the police, heard the inquest, which was held last week in Winchester, reports the Hampshire Chronicle.
Mr Thomas, who worked as a technical engineer, had sustained a head injury while riding over the Humber Bridge in East Yorkshire in June 21.
His family said that since then, he suffered from anxiety and mood swings, and also struggled with work.
He resigned from his job shortly before he disappeared, believing he was being given too much work, and although he asked to be reinstated, his request was declined by his former employers.
In a statement read out at the inquest by area coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, Mr Thomas’s son said: “I had been out with friends, and when I came home dad wasn’t there. I thought he could have been out cycling. I tried to call him but it went straight to voicemail.
“I know that in 2021 he had a bike accident was he was blown into a metal post on the Humber Bridge causing a severe head injury. I did notice a difference in him after the accident.”
Mr Thomas’s wife, Natsima Thomas, added in a statement of her own: “His mood fluctuated after the accident and he suffered from anxiety. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary on May 25.”
Mr Thomas had tried to get help for his mental health issues from professionals in the field, although the mood swings he suffered from meant they were unable to fully assist him.
Recording a conclusion of death by suicide, the coroner said: “I'm very sorry this has happened. It would have helped if he received more specialist support.”
In 2019, the family of three-time world champion track cyclist Kelly Catlin donated her brain to Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center, a week after the 23-year-old had been found dead in her room at Stanford University in California.
Her family suspected that a head injury sustained in a crash on her bike had led her to undergo a personality change and, ultimately, to take her own life.
Her father Mark Catlin said at the time: “Our family decided to have a neuropathologic examination performed on Kelly’s brain to investigate any possible damage caused by her recent head injury and seek explanations for recent neurologic symptoms.”
The CTE Center, which has a ‘brain bank’ comprising more than 600 brains, says it is “the largest tissue repository in the world focused on traumatic brain injury,” with brains of deceased athletes “examined neuropathologically for evidence of CTE or other disorders of the central nervous system.”
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or emailjo [at] samaritans.org"> jo [at] samaritans.org.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.