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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Grieving family wants answers after police fail to tell about son's suicide note

A GRIEVING family whose son hanged himself only learned that he had left them a goodbye note SEVEN months after the tragic event due to a police mix-up.

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Bobby Appleby: A ‘lovely, quiet, polite, happy-go-lucky lad’

Now they are demanding answers about why the police did not tell them that a note was found.

Relatives of the late Robert Appleby, known as Bobby, were only told in the middle of his inquest on Monday that the police had found a suicide note on the night of the incident last July.

After the relatives received the shocking news, coroner David Roberts – who was unaware that the family was in the dark – immediately called a halt to the inquest proceedings to allow them to read Bobby’s note. Mr Roberts then apologised to the family, expressing regret that Bobby’s last words had not been shared with them at the time of his death.

In the note, Bobby said goodbye to his mother, Mandy, and his father, John, and revealed that he couldn’t “take it any more”.

His father, John ( known as Robert), said: “I couldn’t believe it when the coroner said about a note. It was the first time we had heard about it. It broke my heart. It broke all of our hearts.”

He said that over the past seven months the family have questioned why Bobby had not written a note and whether his death had been a tragic accident. Now Mr Appleby is demanding answers from the police about why his son’s last words were not shared with the family until the hearing.

“We want to know why we weren’t told about the letter,” he said. “For it to come out in the inquest, it’s not good enough. The police must have taken it.”

Acting Superintendent Justin Bibby said: “We apologise to the family for any distress that may have been caused in the coroner’s court and we will look into how the situation arose.

“It is normal practice for notes from the deceased to be shared with the family and we need to understand why it does not appear to have happened in this case. As always, our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

Following the inquest, the coroner has also written a personal letter of apology to the family.

Mr Appleby told The Whitehaven News that the family have been through an horrific time over the past seven months.

Bobby was found at his home on Main Street, Cleator, on July 22 last year. He was revived by family friend Thomas Seward who worked tirelessly with a police officer to administer CPR.

Mr Appleby said that when param-edics arrived to treat his son, family and friends were asked to wait outside. He went straight to West Cumberland Hospital with his son, and when he returned, after police had investigated the scene, he hadn’t realised a suicide note had been left.

Bobby died in hospital four days later.

Mr Appleby said following his son’s death, his kidneys were donated to a 21-year-old from Sunderland who had waited four years for a transplant, and a 40-year-old, also from the North East, who had seven children.

“It’s good to know that out of something bad, something good has come about,” said Mr Appleby.

However, the family is still baffled as to why Bobby took his own life. Mr Appleby spoke of his son as a “lovely, quiet, polite, happy-go-lucky lad”.

“He would do anything for anybody. He went up on the fells with the dog Oliver every day. He just loved animals.”

Mr Appleby told The News that his son kept ferrets, tarantulas and looked after the family dog.

His son, the oldest of five children, also did odd jobs at a nearby farm.

“As long as he had a can of Coke and a fag left, he was ok,” said Mr Appleby.

Two weeks ago, the family placed a headstone at Bobby’s grave at St Mary’s Church, at Cleator. They hoped it would bring closure but this week’s events have brought all the hurt and anger back.

Mr Appleby said he would like to thank friends and family for all their support over the past seven months. He would also like to thank funeral director Paul Mills for his help.

Have your say

after making six phone calls to police i am still no closer to getting my sons note , obviously thanks to the coroner we know what was in the note but we would still like to have the original that bobby wrote , the police officer dealing with this is not available well how about he tells another officer where he has put the note and then they can return it to us would that be too much to ask after seven long months !!!

Posted by AMANDA APPLEBY on 27 February 2012 at 16:03

i lost a close family member to suicide whith no note wonder if there was one and it was overlooked or whatever this is horible for the family,rip pal

Posted by ste on 25 February 2012 at 03:39

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