Couple found in flat died from carbon dioxide poisoning, inquest hears

Emergency services at a flat on Oxford Avenue in Gorleston after the bodies of Alex Mills, 32, and N

Emergency services at a flat on Oxford Avenue in Gorleston after the bodies of Alex Mills, 32, and Niraj Patel, 31, discovered in the property. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: Archant

A couple found dead in a flat on the coast took their own lives, an inquest has heard.

Flowers were left outside the house on Oxford Avenue, Gorleston, after the bodies of Alex Mills and

Flowers were left outside the house on Oxford Avenue, Gorleston, after the bodies of Alex Mills and Niraj Patel were found. Picture: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

The bodies of Alex Mills and Niraj Patel were both discovered after police forced their way into a flat on Oxford Avenue in Gorleston on July 21 this year.

An inquest, heard on Monday (November 23) at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, was told the cause of their deaths was carbon dioxide poisoning.

Senior Coroner for Norfolk, Jacqueline Lake, read from a statement written by Ms Mills’ mother, Lisa Harding, which said the couple had started seeing each other around three to four years ago.

Ms Harding first met Mr Patel on New Year’s Eve in 2018 and thought the relationship was the “saviour of Alex”, who had a history of mental health difficulties, the inquest heard.

The couple had been living together at Mr Patel’s home address in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown.


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They had spent two nights in a hotel from July 14 to 16, and were supposed to return to Mr Patel’s address, but his car was seen parked outside Ms Mill’s house on Oxford Avenue, which Ms Harding thought was “odd”, the inquest was told. Over the weekend concerns escalated, with Ms Mills having come off social media and the curtains shut and front windows left open at her house.

On July 21, Ms Mills’s parents tried to get into the property but couldn’t because there were keys on the inside of both front and back doors.

The police were called and officers forced entry, finding the bodies of the couple who were pronounced dead at the scene.

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Ms Harding said her daughter had “difficult times in life” when “things did become overwhelming for her”.

“I feel devastated she didn’t reach out to people who care for her and for help and support,” she said.

Ms Lake concluded they had taken their own lives.

She expressed her sympathy to members of the both families.

• If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.

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