Surgeon killed himself after row over his obsession with chickens

A suicidal surgeon with an ‘addiction’ to chickens killed himself after arguing with his housemate about the birds he kept at his home, an inquest heard.

Dr Adam Kubba, 39, put a bag over his head after Gareth Gascoine-Leopold told him having too many birds was insanitary.

The Iraqi-born doctor worked at Watford General Hospital but lived in Camberwell, southeast London where he kept 73 chickens and 20 rabbits.

Dr Kubba was so obsessed with his birds that he would worry about them while away on trips and interview suitable carers for them.

He also openly fantasised about suicide and attended a depressed healthcare professionals clinic at the Maudsley psychiatric hospital.

Psychiatrist Dr Jane Marshall told Southwark Coroner’s Court: ‘He was always thinking of ways of killing himself.

Dr Kubba even kept what he described as a ‘suicide kit’ in a box.

Three days before he died his housemates had found a note written by Dr Kubba stating he was going to visit his dead mother.

Mr Gascoine-Leopold told the hearing: ‘He had an addiction to chickens.

‘He had 73 when he passed away – I said this and the 20-plus rabbits was a problem – unsanitary.

‘Two weeks later he got another delivery of hatching eggs.

‘I told him I was moving out.

Then on the day of his death, August 5 this year, the pair rowed about the move.

Mr Gascoine-Leopold said: ‘I was staying with a friend. He came round and we argued and he threw caustic soda at me.

He told the doctor him to leave to cool down and that was the last he ever saw of him.

The friend added: ‘He was open about his suicidal tendencies. He’d meet you and within five minutes he’d tell you.

‘He’d say: ‘If you leave I’ll kill myself’.

‘When someone says they’re going to kill themselves you don’t take it as seriously if you’ve heard it countless times.

Mr Gascoine-Leopold went to his friend’s home at 201 Camberwell New Road, after a call from another tenant.

‘I answered the phone and it was the tenant telling me Adam had gone on holiday and they didn’t know how to look after the chickens.

‘I went round and there was the blue lid on the kitchen table which was from his suicide box – which rang alarm bells.

The doctor’s bedroom door was locked from the inside.

Police kicked down his bedroom door to find the doctor sprawled on his bed with a plastic bag tied around his head and an empty syringe nearby.

A post mortem found he had injected himself with a cocktail of drugs but died of asphyxia.

Southwark Coroner John Sampson said: ‘I’m sure his intended career will be the loser for his not being able to carry it through.

Verdict: Suicide.