26-year-old actor, Luke Westlake who appeared in BBC crime drama ‘Luther’ alongside Idris Elba hanged himself while out of work during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Westlake appeared in Luther and BBC dramas Doctors and No Offence, after graduating from one of the UK’s top drama schools in 2017.
An inquest into his death heard today, January 29th revealed that during the first national lockdown in 2020, the actor was stressed about being out of work and was suffering from a long distance relationship breakdown.
Luke tried to take his own life in April and again in June, the assistant coroner heard.
Just over a week after the first attempt in June, Luke messaged his ex-girlfriend,
Hannah Llewelyn, and threatened to kill himself.
On the morning of June 18th, he was found dead.
The cause of death was concluded as hanging following a post mortem examination, and a toxicologist discovered a substantial amount of THC in Luke’s body, a sign he took a lot of marijuana.
The inquest revealed that Luke was seeking therapy for childhood abuse, in the weeks leading to his death. His request for therapy was denied as the therapist first wanted to first deal with his drug and alcohol issues.
Appearing via video link, Dr John Pimm, a clinical lead for Oxford Health NHS foundation trust said,
“If someone is using, it will be very problematic for them to have that treatment.
“You should try to deal with the drug and alcohol problem and stabilize it for a reasonable amount of time.
“The key issue is that in trauma therapy, you will delve into very distressing things from someone’s past – in order to do that they need to be in a really good place.
“If you have not done the pre-work it is very risky, it is like going into surgery without the pre work.”
Assistant Coroner Michael Walsh, concluded the inquest with a verdict of suicide.
“Luke was aged 26 years at the time of his death. He had a history of anxiety and depression and substantial misuse by way of alcohol and cannabis, used as a coping mechanism.
“He had reported childhood abuse and did not agree with plans of clinicians to deal with substance abuse before he had some treatment for trauma when he was younger.
“Luke found it difficult to deal with stressful triggers – his relationship and his employment. It was noted that it was not uncommon for him to threaten to harm himself – such an occasion occurred on June 17.
“He had threatened to take his life and he had taken cannabis shortly before he died.”