‘Allegations’ led to black belt’s death

Steve Bishop
Steve Bishop

A SCARBOROUGH world champion martial arts expert committed suicide after ‘allegations’ were made against him on a social network site, an inquest yesterday heard.

Steven Bishop, 49, of Pinewood Caravan site, off Racecourse Road, died in August of carbon monoxide poisoning after his car was found in Broxa Forest, near Burniston.

Mr Bishop, a 4th Dan Black Belt in Aikido who taught martial arts to youngsters at his Bishido Arts Aikido Club, had attached a hose pipe to his vehicle’s exhaust and inhaled the fumes after feeding the pipe into his silver car through a window.

He was found slouched in the driver’s seat by a member of Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team on the Silpho Forest trail.

The inquest heard from Mr Bishop’s mother, Janet, who said her son had seemed fine the day before his death but had been upset after learning of the allegations on Facebook.

She said: “He came around with his washing and seemed fine until I passed the message on and he was then angry.

“He could not understand why they had got in touch with me.”

The inquest heard Mr Bishop, who reached the final stages of ITV show Gladiators in 1998, had previously made a suicide attempt in 2007 following the break-up of a relationship.

Scarborough County Court was told Mr Bishop, a former security doorman at Mist bar, in St Thomas Street, had been seen near Reasty Bank car park with the hose pipe feeding fumes into his car.

However, after being spotted by a concerned motorist, Mr Bishop immediately drove off with the hose pipe still attached to his car’s exhaust and moved on Broxa Forest where he was found.

Coroner Michael Oakley told the inquest said it was clear Mr Bishop had wanted to take his own life after being affected by the allegations.

He said: “The circumstances and the evidence indicate that he had intended to take his own life.

“There was a history of self-harm having made an attempt on his life in 2007 which came as a result of allegations made against him.”

After his death, former martial arts colleagues of Mr Bishop paid tribute to his ability.

Bob Jones, chairman of the British Aikido Association, said: “I used to compete with, and against him, in the 1970s, and he was an excellent competitor.

“You could say though, that despite all his success, his talent was largely unfulfilled.”

His cousin Mick Ager added: “He was a happy-go-lucky bloke.

“Any problems he had, he would always face head on.”