I get the chills when I look at a chain saw now

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Mar 22, 2007
David Phyall, 50, used string to tie the Black & Decker power tool to a leg of a snooker table in his sitting room.

He then taped up the on button and plugged it into a timer, Winchester Coroner's Court was told.

Mr Phyall, who had had a small amount to drink but had not taken any drugs, then lay face up under the snooker table and put the chainsaw against his neck.

He used a piece of the tool's cardboard box to cushion the blades from his neck and then set the timer - usually used to turn lights on and off - to start up the chainsaw for 15 minutes.

When it started, it sliced three-quarters through his neck and into his right shoulder, only stopping when his T-shirt was dragged into the blades.

Mr Phyall's elderly parents, John and Jean Phyall, raised the alarm on July 5, when they could not get in touch with their son in his ground floor housing association flat in Bishopstoke.

Police were called and, after breaking in, Sergeant Mark Carter said he found Mr Phyall in his sitting room, with blood spattering the walls, floor and a cabinet.

"The electric chainsaw was embedded in his neck. The blade was approximately three quarters through his neck," he told the hearing.

Central Hampshire deputy coroner Simon Burge said to the officer: "It must have been a huge shock to you."

Sgt Carter replied: "In some ways it was, sir."

The hearing heard that the block where Mr Phyall had his flat was to be demolished but he had refused 11 offers of alternative accommodation and eventually the housing association had gone to court to repossess the property.

At the time of his death Mr Phyall, who suffered from mental illness and had attempted suicide before, was the only person left inside the 1960s block when the rest of the properties were boarded up.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Burge said First Wessex Housing Group had done all they could to help Mr Phyall but he was "irrationally opposed to moving"