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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Man 'carefully planned' his chainsaw death after losing eviction battle with developers

The last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished cut his own head off with a chainsaw to highlight the 'injustice' of being asked to move out, an inquest heard today.

Desperate David Phyall, 50, plugged the electric chainsaw into the mains and attached a timer to the socket.

He then wrapped sellotape around the machine's trigger to secure it in the 'on' position and tied the handle of the saw to a table leg to hold it steady.

David Phyall

The block where David Phyall lived and committed suicide. He was being evicted by developers

Mr Phyall rested the saw on his neck and waited for the timer to go off.

The Black and Decker chainsaw sliced through his neck in an instant but kept going for a further 15 minutes.

Police and paramedics found his blood-soaked body at the flat in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, after his father John raised the alarm.

Mr Phyall was the last resident living in an area marked for a mass redevelopment and all 71 surrounding flats were empty.

The inquest heard Mr Phyall, who had lived in the 1960s flat for eight years, was the last resident in the block and had resisted 11 offers of a new home.

The inquest in Winchester, Hampshire, today heard that on July 5 this year Sergeant Mark Carter was called to the flat after Mr Phyall's parents found it was locked from the inside.

Sgt Carter told the inquest he broke into the flat using a crowbar before making his way to the lounge where he found Mr Phyall's body dressed in underpants and a T-shirt.

He said: 'The carpet was covered by a layer of blood and the ceiling above my head was also splattered with blood.

'I could see an electric chainsaw embedded in the man's neck - the blade was three quarters of the way through his neck.

'The handle of the chainsaw had been tied by white string to a table leg and the trigger had been tied up by sellotape.

'The lead was connected to a timer switch which was plugged into the wall.

'I have never come across an incident quite this graphic.'

Detective Sergeant Mark Huxford told the hearing: 'The head was still attached by the right shoulder and his head was lying to the left.

'A large area of carpet had blood splattered all over it because of the way the Black and Decker chainsaw had been spinning around.'

Mr Phyall's father John Phyall told the hearing he had no idea his son had any plans to harm himself.

He added: 'We had seen him a week prior to his death and he had appeared cheerful and had been making jokes. His death was totally unexpected.'

It is believed Mr Phyall killed himself two days before his body was found.

The inquest heard that on April 18 a letter was sent to all residents of the block by First Wessex Housing Group Ltd saying the building would be demolished.

However, Mr Phyall refused to leave his one-bedroom flat and had been taken to court by the housing association.

Two weeks before his death First Wessex Housing Group had been awarded possession of the flat giving them legal entitlement to evict him.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Deputy Central Hampshire Simon Burge said Mr Phyall had killed himself in a bid to 'make a statement'.

He said: 'The scene was clearly an appalling one.

'In the 15 years I have been sitting as deputy coroner it is the most bizarre case I have seen.

'Mr Phyall had thought through how he was going to commit suicide very carefully - he went to a great deal of trouble to rig up the chainsaw knowing full well the result would be fatal.

'It was death in the most dramatic way imaginable.

'I find he did so to draw attention to the injustice he felt at being asked to move out of his flat.'

I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

Everybody has this image of "crazy Christians" based on what they hear in the media, but it's just not true. Most Christians are normal, decent folks. We don't all blindly follow a bunch of outdated biblical tenets or go all fanatical about every bit of dogma. What I'm trying to say is, don't let the actions of a vocal few color your perceptions about what the majority of us are like.

Like me. I may be a Christian, but it's not like I'm one of those wacko "love your neighbor as yourself " types.

God forbid!

I'm here to tell you there are lots of Christians who aren't anything like the preconceived notions you may have. We're not all into "turning the other cheek." We don't spend our days committing random acts of kindness for no credit. And although we believe that the moral precepts in the Book of Leviticus are the infallible word of God, it doesn't mean we're all obsessed with extremist notions like "righteousness" and "justice."

My faith in the Lord is about the pure, simple values: raising children right, saying grace at the table, strictly forbidding those who are Methodists or Presbyterians from receiving communion because their beliefs are heresies, and curing homosexuals. That's all. Just the core beliefs. You won't see me going on some frothy-mouthed tirade about being a comfort to the downtrodden.

I'm a normal Midwestern housewife. I believe in the basic teachings of the Bible and the church. Divorce is forbidden. A woman is to be an obedient subordinate to the male head of the household. If a man lieth down with another man, they shall be taken out and killed. Things everybody can agree on, like the miracle of glossolalia that occurred during Pentecost, when the Apostles were visited by the Holy Spirit, who took the form of cloven tongues of fire hovering just above their heads. You know, basic common sense stuff.

But that doesn't mean I think people should, like, forgive the sins of those who trespass against them or anything weird like that.

We're not all "Jesus Freaks" who run around screaming about how everyone should "Judge not lest ye be judged," whine "Blessed are the meek" all the time, or drone on and on about how we're all equal in the eyes of God! Some of us are just trying to be good, honest folks who believe the unbaptized will roam the Earth for ages without the comfort of God's love when Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior returns on Judgment Day to whisk the righteous off to heaven.

Now, granted, there are some Christians on the lunatic fringe who take their beliefs a little too far. Take my coworker Karen, for example. She's way off the deep end when it comes to religion: going down to the homeless shelter to volunteer once a month, donating money to the poor, visiting elderly shut-ins with the Meals on Wheels program—you name it!

But believe me, we're not all that way. The people in my church, for the most part, are perfectly ordinary Americans like you and me. They believe in the simple old-fashioned traditions—Christmas, Easter, the slow and deliberate takeover of more and more county school boards to get the political power necessary to ban evolution from textbooks statewide. That sort of thing.

We oppose gay marriage as an abomination against the laws of God and America, we're against gun control, and we fervently and unwaveringly believe that the Jews, Muslims, and all on earth who are not born-again Pentecostalists are possessed by Satan and should be treated as such.

When it comes down to it, all we want is to see every single member of the human race convert to our religion or else be condemned by a jealous and wrathful God to suffer an eternity of agony and torture in the Lake of Fire!

I hope I've helped set the record straight, and I wish you all a very nice day! God bless you!