Gay primary school teacher ‘drank himself to death because of the stress of the job’


A gay primary school teacher found dead at home after a night of heavy drinking was driven to the bottle by the stress of his JOB, an inquest heard.

James Pointon, 41, was at the “end of his tether” from the strain of working as a Year 1 teacher and would regularly turn to drink after class.

Pals claim he became so overworked that he would often down up to two bottles of wine each night to escape from the stress of work.

On the night of October 12 last year Mr Pointon was found face down in his kitchen by his partner Kirt Gibson.

Paramedics rushed to the house, in Leek, Staffs., but could not resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest heard Mr Pointon – who taught at Leek’s All Saints’ First School –  had probably fallen down the stairs in a drunken stupor.

Mr Gibson told Monday’s (8/4) hearing: “Alcohol became a poison towards the end as his drinking got worse.

“It was due to the stress of his job and when I spoke to him he said he had a drink to relax and it just got worse.

“He had been to the doctors to go on medication after suffering with anxiety and stress.”

The inquest heard that on the night of Mr Pointon’s death, Mr Gibson had gone to his friend, Rachel Emery’s house for a takeaway.

He left the couple’s house at about 6.40pm before returning three hours later to find Mr Pointon lying lifeless at the bottom of the stairs.

Giving evidence Miss Emery said: “Mr Gibson called me and he was hysterical, upset and frightened.

“He kept saying ‘he’s at the bottom of the stairs, I think he’s dead’.”

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Pointon had a blood alcohol level of 348ml per decilitre – the legal driving limit is 80.

North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith ruled Mr Pointon died from acute alcohol poisoning.

After the inquest, neighbours revealed how the stress of Mr Pointon’s job had got him down over the past year.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, added: “He was at the end of his tether.

“He would always say he couldn’t take the pressure of it any more.

“He said there was little support in place for him some of the children were very hard to deal with.

“They overworked him basically and his escape was the bottle. It was a tragic end to a very talented and intelligent man’s life.”

Verdict: Accidental death.


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