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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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No reason found as to why talented man killed himself

THE family of a talented young sportsman found hanged in a Cleator Moor flat may never know why he took his own life.

Stephen Callander, 21, battled with alcohol and drug problems during his life, but an inquest last week heard that neither of these factors necessarily caused his suicide on July 10 last year.

Mr Callander’s mother, Karan Smith, told the hearing that her son was “in a low way” but added that the family was deeply shocked at his death.

“We had absolutely no inkling this would happen,” said Mrs Smith.

“He was depressed and was particularly low in the weeks before, but we did not expect this. On the day itself, he was his usual self and what he did was so out of the blue.

“He must have been really low at that point and could not see any way back from it. We tried but we just couldn’t reach him.”

Mr Callander, of Birks Road, Cleator Moor, did not leave a suicide note and his GP did not report that he had a history of suicidal thoughts.

He was however receiving counselling to help reduce his use of alcohol and drugs, namely diazepam.

The inquest heard that, on the day of his death, Mr Callander had been visiting a friend, Darrell Devlin, at his flat above The Globe pub on Aldby Street.

Around 9pm, Mr Devlin left the flat to collect some winnings from the betting shop nearby. He returned 20 minutes later to find Mr Callander hanged from a banister.

The inquest heard from Mr Devlin that his friend had been “in good spirits” in the hours leading up to his death.

Mr Devlin, along with others who were in the pub, tried to resuscitate Mr Callander but were unsuccessful.

Coroner David Roberts formally ruled that Mr Callander took his own life.

A post-mortem found relatively low levels of alcohol – the equivalent of twice the drink-drive limit – and “therapeutic” levels of diazepam in his system.

Mr Callander had been a keen sportsman, the inquest heard, representing Cleator Cricket Club, and he played to county standard. He also played football for Cleator Moor Celtic.

After leaving Ehenside School at 16, Mr Callander began training as a chef at Lakes College, before changing direction and undertaking welding and bricklaying courses. He was unemployed at the time of his death.

Mr Roberts said that the levels of drugs and alcohol in his system “will have had a detrimental effect on his mind”, but added that the levels were not high.

The coroner concluded: “There is no explanation for what happened and Mrs Smith’s assessment that she may never know may be an accurate one.

“Mr Callander had a supportive family that tried to show him all the benefits of his life but he seemed beyond reach.

“There was no particular event on July 10 that triggered what happened, but it is more likely that a downward trajectory of hopelessness is the explanation here.

“The sad fact is that in so many cases there is no reason that can be found why young men, especially here in Cumbria, take their own lives.”

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