'Blushing' man committed suicide

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The Independent Online

A man who was convinced he was being humiliated on the internet because of his constant blushing gassed himself, an inquest heard today.

Gifted musician and artist Luke Shears thought the New York Police Department was monitoring his body and home for when he blushed and then posting it on the world wide web so people could laugh at him.

Mr Shears, 43, was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and attempted suicide several times before he was found dead by police at his flat in Winchester, Hampshire, in July last year.

The inquest in Winchester was told that Mr Shears had retreated from the world as he felt the blushing got worse.

He even had a nerve cut to try and stop it and he used fake tanning to hide it. The fixation had started while he was working in New York in 1993.

On the night he died, Mr Shears was due to have dinner with his sister Emma but he failed to turn up and she raised the alarm.

His father Barry told the hearing that his son was a "lovely man" but he did not know why the fixation with his blushing started.

Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of suicide.

"It's clear he suffered from a psychosis. It's also clear from the reports I have read he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia which was a result of a tendency to blush," he said.

"His life became dominated by his strong desire to avoid situations where he might blush. Furthermore, the total belief he was being watched.

"He believed his psychosis would never improve and he would not be able to lead the life he wanted."