County councillor took his own life, inquest hears

county councillor took his own life inquest hears - County councillor took his own life, inquest hears
county councillor took his own life inquest hears 1 - County councillor took his own life, inquest hears

A-28-year-old Gloucestershire County Councillor took his own life after losing a battle with mental health demons, an inquest heard.

Lib-Dem councillor Jack Williams of Craven Drive, Churchdown, was found dead in his car in a Cheltenham car park, the Gloucester inquest was told yesterday.

The Churchdown councillor had made a previous attempt on his life two years before, the coroner was told.

The ‘very well liked’ young politician had been working on the county council’s children and families committee, overseeing improvements to children’s services.

On the day of his death, he sent an email to Gloucestershire police with the subject heading ‘Suicide’ – notifying them where to find him, the inquest was told.

On that day, January 7, police attended the car park but found him to be unresponsive. He later was pronounced deceased at Cheltenham General Hospital.

A note was discovered in the vehicle with ‘clear suicidal ideation,’ the court heard.

Senior Gloucestershire Coroner Katie Skerrett, who summarised the evidence from a file of statements, said that according to his GP records, Councillor Williams had struggled with his mental health but was not currently known to the mental health services at the time of the tragedy.

“He was using the GP to manage his mental health and on anti-depressants. He was referred to the ‘Let’s Talk’ service but after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with Jack he was discharged in June 2018,” she said.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, Mrs Skerrett said she was satisfied the intent to take his own life was there even if it was only fleeting.

“He struggled with his mental health and for reasons unknown he lost his battle and took the steps he did,” she concluded.

After the news of Jack’s death broke, his fellow colleagues and friends reached out to social media to send messages of support to his family.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Paul Hodgkinson (Northleach and Bourton-on-the-Water), told the Local Democracy Reporting Service in January that “Jack had achieved a huge amount”.

He said: “We are devastated by the loss and find it difficult to take in what has happened. Jack was one of the youngest members of the council and universally liked across the chamber.

“He was an impassioned councillor who cared deeply for Churchdown and for the county’s most vulnerable, working on the Children and Families committee, helping to oversee the improvements to Gloucestershire’s children’s services.”

Jack is survived by his wife Lizzi and their two children.

If you are struggling with your mental health or negative thoughts, it is important to tell someone.

Help and support is available.

You can call the samaritans on 16 123, they are open 24 hours a day, every day.

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