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To Protest Eviction, Man Commits Gruesome Suicide and Cuts Head Off With Chainsaw

A desperate David Phyall, 50 of Bishopstoke in the UK, used an electric chainsaw to cut his own head off to protest his eviction from a block of flats set to be demolished. Phyall had refused to leave his one-bedroom flat and had been taken to court.
Bishopstoke, UK - David Phyall, 50, was the last remaining tenant in a building that was set to be demolished to make way for a massive redevelopment in the area. Even though he had been ordered to vacate, Phyall refused to leave his one-bedroom flat.
Two days before his body was found, it's reported that he "carefully planned" his suicide, as a way to make a statement. What follows is gruesome.
Phyall plugged-in an electric chainsaw and set it on a timer. Using sellotape, he taped the trigger to the 'on' position, then secured the chainsaw to a table leg to hold it steady. Phyall rested the saw against 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.
Mr. Phyall's parents had gone to the flat and after discovering that the door was locked from the inside, called Sergeant Mark Carter. Using a crowbar, he forced the door open only to find the grisly scene.
Phyall was dressed only in underpants and a T-shirt, and covered in blood. Sgt. Carter said, 'The carpet was covered by a layer of blood and the ceiling above my head was also splattered with blood."
Carter goes on to tell that the chainsaw was embedded in Phyall's neck, and it had quit running three quarters of the way through the man's neck. He saw that the trigger to the chainsaw was taped to the "on" position, as well as the saw being tied to the table leg. The saw and the timer were still plugged-in, although not running.
"I have never come across an incident quite this graphic."
At the inquest, Detective Sergeant Mark Huxford continued telling the details. He said that the head was still attached by the right shoulder and his head was lying to the left. Because of the way the chainsaw had spun while running, a large area of the carpet was covered with blood.
John Phyall, David's father, told the hearing that he had no idea that his son meant to kill himself. '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.'
Deputy Central Hampshire Simon Burge who recorded David's death as a suicide, felt that this manner of how Phyall had chosen to kill himself was to 'make a statement'. He described the scene as "appalling" and "bizarre". '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.
If his death was to make a statement about the injustice of being evicted from his home of 8 years, he certainly accomplished that. What's even sadder is that he turned down 11 offers of a new home.

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10 comments

#1Nov 20, 2008 Debra Myers
Wow...ya'll changed the comment box! Well done!
My thanks to Chris for the lead as well as the photos!
#2Nov 20, 2008 M Dee Dubroff
It sounds like he wanted to die anyway, but what a way to go!
Sad story but good post.
#3Nov 20, 2008 Cynthia Trowbridge
This is almost too gruesome to comprehend. I would hate to have seen it. I feel terrible for his poor parents to have to live with this memory of their son.
The rules for comments is excellent. I just hope it doesn't mean we can't have a little friendly conversation going as you and I often do Deb.
I might ask about it tomorrow as I need to get ready to go out for the evening.
#4Nov 20, 2008 Debra Myers
@M Dee Dubroff
It sounds like he wanted to die anyway, but what a way to go!
Sad story but good post.
Definitely a horrid way to go. I just can't wrap my mind around how this man didn't pull away or flinch when the chainsaw started.
#5Nov 20, 2008 Debra Myers
@Cynthia Trowbridge
This is almost too gruesome to comprehend. I would hate to have seen it. I feel terrible for his poor parents to have to live with this memory of their son.
The rules for comments is excellent. I just hope it doesn't mean we can't have a little friendly conversation going as you and I often do Deb.
I might ask about it tomorrow as I need to get ready to go out for the evening.
Have a good evening, Cynthia!
It's unbelievable that he would go this far...it doesn't seem worth killing himself over, ya know?
#6Nov 20, 2008 Cynthia Trowbridge
@Debra Myers
Have a good evening, Cynthia!
It's unbelievable that he would go this far...it doesn't seem worth killing himself over, ya know?
Thanks Deb, I had a very nice evening. My daughter-in-law invited me to a Taste Fest at her church for the ladies. When I came home though it was snowing and the parking lot was a little icy in spots. :-(
It is hard to understand him killing himself and even makes less sense when he had 11 offers for another home.
#7Nov 21, 2008 Nikki Weingartner
This is sad and with suicide, it is usually done for 1 of 2 reasons
a. to end overwhelming pain and suffering, where they feel there is no way out and no one would miss them
or
b. to make a statement (i cant have the, her or it.....neither can you)
very sad indeed. this individual obviously chose door number 2. and the saddest part is his statement of gore made the news but will be long gone when the site is demolished.
His family, however, will suffer forever because of his meticulouse insurance that such a plan would go through. over a rental property........
#8Nov 21, 2008 Debra Myers
@Cynthia Trowbridge
Thanks Deb, I had a very nice evening. My daughter-in-law invited me to a Taste Fest at her church for the ladies. When I came home though it was snowing and the parking lot was a little icy in spots. :-(
It is hard to understand him killing himself and even makes less sense when he had 11 offers for another home.
Try as we might, I don't think we could ever understand why he killed himself.
@Nikki Weingartner
This is sad and with suicide, it is usually done for 1 of 2 reasons
a. to end overwhelming pain and suffering, where they feel there is no way out and no one would miss them
or
b. to make a statement (i cant have the, her or it.....neither can you)
very sad indeed. this individual obviously chose door number 2. and the saddest part is his statement of gore made the news but will be long gone when the site is demolished.
His family, however, will suffer forever because of his meticulouse insurance that such a plan would go through. over a rental property........
Thanks for your thoughts, NIkki. When people chose ending their lives in ways that are gory, they have to know that the media will play that to the hilt, so that no one can ever forget those word images, and they will now be tacked to that person's memories. Forever.
#9Nov 21, 2008 Janice Ambrose
I can think of a lot of better ways to commit suicide than that!!!! Sad ending to a life. I feel very deeply for his parents. It sounds like they saw everything and will probably never get the picture out of their heads along with their grieving.
#10Nov 21, 2008 Debra Myers
@Janice Ambrose
I can think of a lot of better ways to commit suicide than that!!!! Sad ending to a life. I feel very deeply for his parents. It sounds like they saw everything and will probably never get the picture out of their heads along with their grieving.
I agree...death by chainsaw would be the last choice to die by. He must have been very, very depressed to go to this length...and I agree...his parents are deserving of our sympathies.

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