Stoke-on-Trent dad killed himself over gambling debts


A young Stoke-on-Trent dad took his own life after an online gambling spree left him in a ‘financial mess,’ an inquest was told.

Christian Bernabe, of Bowlers Close, Festival Heights, killed himself just hours after dropping his daughter off for her first day at school.

The 23-year-old had run up huge debts of more than £29,000, owing money to 12 different accounts, including two high interest pay day loans.

He was found in his family’s front room by wife Clarisse in the early hours of September 6 last year. He had strangled himself with cable ties.

North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court heard the motor parts specialist had lost his and his wife’s life savings and sold his car to try and pay off the debts.

His father Wilfredo Bernabe told the inquest his family had no idea how much trouble his son was in.

He said: “He was a good son, he always worked hard, he even worked over time some days, and we presumed he had savings.

“When he was playing on the computer we did not know he was playing with money.”

Just hours earlier he had gone to work at Enza Motors in Longport after dropping his daughter off for her first day at school.

Colleague Barry Preston said he “seemed normal” at work and had asked for a lift home around 11.30pm.

After stopping off to buy beer and crisps Mr Preston dropped him off at a bus stop near his house.

The inquest was told Clarisse had woken later in the night and realised Christian was missing.

She heard the television and went downstairs to find him on the sofa with three cable ties and a tea towel around his neck.

PC Lynn Evans of Burslem police attended the scene and told the inquest how it was Wilfredo who found Christian’s notes shortly after she had arrived.

North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith said it was clear Christian was in a lot of trouble and was trying to find a way out.

He said: “He was like a drowning man, clutching at straws with no where to turn. Unfortunately, some of these loan companies charge very very high interest rates and they are not a solution.

“I am sure that if he had come to his family with the mess that he was in, something could have been done for him.”

He recorded a verdict that he took his own life.


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