Car park jumper obsessed with smelly feet - inquestBy Amy Taylor
March 18, 2013
A MAN jumped to his death from the Wellington Centre car park after suffering from a rare obsession that he was being shunned for having smelly feet, an inquest heard.
Troubled Stuart Astley would sometimes spend ‘hours or days’ cleaning his feet under the delusion that people avoided him because they smelled so badly.
An inquest at Alton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday heard the 42-year-old had also racked up ‘massive debts’ before he jumped to his death from the multi-storey car park in Aldershot on December 17 last year.
His body was found by a council road sweeper on the pavement in Cross Street at 5.20am the next morning.
Police officers tried to resuscitate him at the scene but he had already died from severe brain injuries caused in the fall.
Mr Astley, of Nelson Road, Aldershot, saw mental health nurses every week after being diagnosed with mild schizophrenia.
“He would spend hours, sometimes days, cleaning the dead skin from his feet and legs,” community health nurse Alan Kent told the inquest on March 13.
“He did have very strong delusions, particularly about his feet – that they smelled and people around him were aware of them.
“He thought people could smell him and he was being persecuted because of it,” he added.
Mr Kent said nurses gave him foot scrubbers and other beauty products to stop him from cutting his feet, which he sometimes cleaned with metal scissors such was his obsession.
He also said Mr Astley was worried about ‘massive debts’ he had racked up, but said he never spoke about killing himself.
The nurse added: “We would ask him straight out ‘do you feel suicidal?’ – and he would say ‘no, I would never do that.’”
The inquest heard that Mr Astley was unmarried and had a spell of homelessness in his 30s, when he lived in a tent in woodlands.
He had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication two weeks before his death for his schizophrenia.
Mr Kent said he thought the medication may have caused him to ‘see things in his life more clearly and he didn’t like what he saw’.
Mr Astley was also taking prescribed sleeping tablets because he would sometimes go ‘two or three days’ without sleeping.
A post-mortem examination concluded he died from multiple injuries as a result of a fall from height, and toxicology tests found only a small level of alcohol and sleeping tablets in his blood.
Andrew Bradley, coroner for North East Hampshire, recorded a suicide verdict.
He said: “I find it an interesting case. I know one is not supposed to use that language but Stuart is interesting. He had an unusual condition that one would call odd. It’s a condition that’s focused on his feet. He was convinced his feet were obnoxious and vile and that led to a fixation.”
He said Mr Astley had ‘jettisoned himself’ off the car park.
“It’s a matter of some sadness that the pain he suffered was up until his death. The death itself was instantaneous.
“He was a troubled individual and it’s a matter of great sadness.”