Inquest: Winchester lighting designer James Rodd died on Carnival cruise ship

A ‘KIND’ and ‘loyal’ lighting technician has died on the cruise ship he worked on, an inquest has heard.

James Rodd was found in a light cabin on the Carnival Conquest cruise ship days after leaving Miami on October 27 last year.

In a report submitted to the coroner, his family said Mr Rodd told them the managers had ‘made his life miserable’.

They said the 24-year-old’s death had ‘shattered their world and changed their lives forever’.

Carnival said it commissioned an independent report into his death.

The inquest was told Mr Rodd, of Downs Road, South Wonston, suffered from autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

He was described as a loving child who worked hard to pass his GCSEs.

He studied lighting design in college before landing his dream job at Carnival Cruises in 2018. His family said he loved his job, describing it as his life, and said he had suffered when he was furloughed in 2020.

He was admitted to Royal Hampshire County Hospital in January 2021 after taking a concoction of tablets.

A medical report said the incident was fueled by depression after he lost his job, but said it was an “impulsive act” which he later regretted.

He sought help and attended counseling appointments.

Mr Rodd was reportedly over the moon when he returned to work, but was transferred to a larger ship where he struggled to keep up with demand.

His mother, Vicky Rodd, said he complained to his brother about bullying on the ship, but swore him to secrecy.

The inquest was told the day before his death that he had had a representation meeting. He feared losing his job at a second meeting the next morning.

He spoke to his father, Ian Rodd, who told him he could come home if he wanted.

Staff discovered his body in a light room the following morning – he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A note read for Ms Rodd by coroner Hannah Godfrey, said: ‘We hope Carnival will want to improve their training and support so that no other family goes through this nightmare.’

The inquest heard Carnival was unaware of the hospital stay in January 2021 when he boarded that year.

Carnival said there are several ways for staff to access mental health support on its ships.

In conclusion, Ms Godfrey said she could not comment on the bullying allegations. She said there was an anonymous helpline he could have called, but it would be impossible to know if he had, also finding there was no evidence Carnival was at the aware of his challenges.

Recording a verdict of suicide, she described it as a “sad case”.

If you want help with grief, loss or mental wellbeing, here are some helplines: Call Samaritans on 116 123, Cruse Bereavement Care 0808 808 1677 cruse.org.uk or Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) 0300 111 5065 uksobs.org

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