Hanging tragedy: grieving father’s death mirrored his son’s
THE grieving father of an 11-year-old boy who hanged himself died in the same way, an inquest heard.
Lee Johns had struggled to come to terms with the death of his son, Tyler, in 2008 and was found hanging from the loft hatch at his home.
But coroner Alan Walsh told the Bolton inquest he was not satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that the 41-year-old landscape gardener, who had been drinking heavily on the day of his death on Sunday, September 8, had intended to take his own life.
On that day, Mr Johns had gone round to the address in nearby in Corring Way, Hall i’ th’ Wood, where Tyler was found hanged five years previously, but failed to gain access to the house.
Mr Johns was estranged from Tyler’s mother and was also in fear of losing contact with his other son, Ewan, now aged 13.
His partner, Margaret Nicholls, told the hearing how Mr Johns never really discussed Tyler unless he had had a drink.
Mr Johns had been drinking beer and vodka with friends and neighbours on the day of the tragedy before Ms Nicholls’ pregnant daughter Rebecca returned home to Pixmore Avenue, Hall i’ th’ Wood, and found him.
Several notes were found at the scene.
Mr Johns was later pronounced dead at the Royal Bolton Hospital.
Ms Nicholls said Mr Johns had “never come to terms with Tyler’s death”.
“He thought he was losing Ewan also,” she added. “But he never talked about harming himself.”
Mr Walsh said that Mr Johns’ fear of loss of contact with Ewan may have been a major factor in him taking the actions he did.
“Over the two weeks before his death, he didn’t have any contact with his partner or his son and became totally reclusive,” added Mr Walsh.
Recording an open verdict, Mr Walsh said at the time of his death Mr Johns was under the influence of alcohol.
He added: “Mr Johns suffered the tragedy of the death of his son in 2008 in horrific circumstances and I have no doubt that was catastrophic event in his life which he failed to overcome.
“Although he didn’t talk about it, he kept it inside. It was a major factor in his mental state on the day.” Mr Walsh said the fact Mr Johns had kept Tyler’s ashes in his bedroom was an indication of the “unimaginable” impact the tragedy must have had on him in 2008.
But he added he was not sure Mr Johns was able to “form the judgement to create the intention to take his own life because his judgement would have been affected by the amount of alcohol he had consumed”.