28/04/2010

McQueen Taking Drugs Before Suicide

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen hanged himself after taking a cocktail of drugs, an inquest has heard.

The 40-year-old, who hanged himself in February of this year, had taken a mix of cocaine, tranquillisers and sleeping pills before committing suicide.

The Court heard that McQueen was under tremendous pressure in his work life and in his private life he was "overwhelmed" by the death of his mother.

McQueen was found at his London flat on 11 February, the eve of his mother Joyce's funeral.

Coroner's officer Lynda Martindill told Westminster Coroner's Court: "He had been particularly close to his mother and following her death had become overwhelmed with grief."

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman, recorded a suicide verdict and said:" the balance of his [McQueen's] mind was disturbed."
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It was made known to the court that the designer had a history of depression, anxiety and insomnia and had made two previous suicide attempts.

His psychiatrist Dr Stephen Pereira said the designer was diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder.

He said: "He certainly felt very pressured by his work, but it was a double-edged sword.

"He felt it was the only area of his life where he felt he had achieved something. Usually after a show he felt a huge come-down. He felt isolated, it gave him a huge low."

A post-mortem examination found the two causes of death were asphyxia and hanging.

Last month the inquest heard McQueen had hanged himself in a wardrobe at his Mayfair flat after leaving a note.

He had been making final preparations for his spring collection to be unveiled in Paris.

McQueen was named British designer of the year four times after 1996.

His close friend, fashion stylist Isabella Blow who helped launch his career, killed herself in 2007.

(LB/GK)


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