A DAD was found dead in woodland after a battle with depression following a relationship break-up.

Bolton Coroner’s Court heard how Mark Bowles was found hanging by a couple walking their dog in an isolated part of Leverhulme Park, off Hilton Street, just before 8am on May 17.

Senior coroner Timothy Brennand, holding a documentary inquest, read out statements from family and witnesses including 38-year-old Mr Bowles’ mother, Pauline Hughes.

She told how the father-of-four had come to live at her Arnside Grove, Bolton, home, following a split with partner Gina Binks.

The court heard how Mr Bowles’ cocaine use, resulting in paranoia, had contributed to the break-up and he had significant debts to drug dealers and the Child Support Agency.

Mrs Hughes stated that the weekend before his death her son discovered, vis social media, that his former partner may have started seeing someone else and became upset.

On the evening of May 16 he went for a walk but his mother became concerned, repeatedly phoning him, when he did not return.

“It was only when I telephoned his mobile phone later the next morning and a police officer answered that I became aware of what had happened. I was devastated,” she said.

The following day Mrs Hughes found a handwritten farewell note from her son when she opened her laptop.

The inquest heard that Mr Bowles had previously suffered from depression and sought medical help but, in her statement, Ms Binks said that he had also used cocaine to self medicate which resulted in his behaviour changing.

“I was deeply saddened and devastated by his death,” she said.

“Although our relationship had ended, he was someone I previously loved very much. It was cocaine which completely changed him.”

Paramedics declared Mr Bowles dead at the scene in the park and a subsequent post-mortem revealed cocaine was in his system.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, Mr Brennand said he was satisfied that the drug had not taken away Mr Bowles’ capacity to understand what he was doing and, on the balance of probability, he intended to take his own life.

“He was intending for it to be final. I was not a cry for help,” he said.

“It may well be that he realised he had lost his recent partner for good in terms of there being any prospect of reconciliation.”

But Mr Brennand added that there is rarely only one factor which leads to suicide and, in Mr Bowles’ case he also had debts and issues with cocaine.

“It was a drug that he simply couldn’t shake himself free from that was completely compromising his potential to be the father, partner, son, brother and friend that he wanted to be,” said Mr Brennand.


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