Leeds man found dead was ‘struggling to cope with loss’

Shaun Howson.
Shaun Howson.

The mother of a Leeds man has described how the loss of his former partner led him to take his own life.

Shaun Howson, of Throstle Road North, Middleton, was found hanging in a secluded wooded area near Sharp Lane Primary School on November 10.

Wakefield Coroner's Court.

Wakefield Coroner's Court.

It is believed that Mr Howson had been involved in an argument with his girlfriend in the early hours of October 21 before he left their flat. He was then registered missing before he was later found dead.

Days prior to his disappearance Mr Howson, described as an avid Leeds United fan who had an ‘LUFC’ tattoo on the back of his neck, had been arranging access to see his 10-year-old disabled son who had been living with a foster family. The mother of Mr Howson’s son had died suddenly a year earlier.

Patricia Stephen, Mr Howson’s mum, paid tribute to him following the inquest into his death at Wakefield Coroner’s Court yesterday.

“He was a lovely lad, he would do anything for anybody, he was caring and loved his son and his family,” she said. “He just struggled to cope with the loss of his son’s mother and his son going into foster care.

“He struggled, he didn’t know how to get help and he was worried that if he did get help that would ruin the chances of him seeing his son.”

The inquest heard that amid a struggle with depression and anxiety, Mr Howson had made several threats to harm himself in the months before his death.

A statement from Mr Howson’s girlfriend, read out by Coroner David Hinchliff, stated that the couple had spent time with his brother and a friend on the night he disappeared before an argument erupted when the pair got home.

Reading the statement, Mr Hinchliff said: “Shaun ran past me outside and we got to the stairwell and Shaun had run down one level and he said ‘Emily [Shaun’s girlfriend] keep the dog, I’m finally doing it’.”

Mr Howson’s body was found by a school worker on November 10. Police found no suspicious circumstances.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Hinchliff added: “I’m aware from what I have heard, he [Mr Howson] was having some domestic issues at that time and seemed to be having one or two personal problems.”

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