Former Chester RC player's tragic depression death


Natalie Barnett

A FORMER Chester Rugby Club player was found hanged alongside the City Walls, an inquest heard.

Former Christleton High School pupil Patrick McLoughlin, 20, suffered from anxiety and depression and had attempted overdoses, the Chester hearing was told.

In the period before his death Mr McLoughlin, of Woodfield, Christleton, had become increasingly troubled and distressed after splitting with girlfriend Lauren Lowe.

His mother Marie McLoughlin described her son as “very special, a cheeky chappie sort of a person who was loved by everybody”, but said the former Morrisons employee had struggled after his parents separated and he suffered from low self-esteem.

“He had a lovely nature but he could put on a good show,” she said.

“It was difficult. I knew something was wrong. He bottled things up, but would not talk.”

Mr McLoughlin, who moved from Wallasey, Wirral, to Chester in 2000 had been stealing from home, said his mother, who added: “At the time I was concerned he was getting into drugs or risky behaviour. I asked him about it and he just dismissed it.”

She added her son had avoided any form of counselling. “I think he thought his past would disappear.”

Mrs McLoughlin said her son went to stay at Roodee House in Chester where he met girlfriend Lauren Lowe.

“I got the old Patrick back then,” she said. “He wanted to turn things around so it would work with Lauren.”

In January the relationship ended and Mr McLoughlin took an overdose of antihistamine.

He was prescribed anti-depressants but said they were not helping. He was later taken to hospital again after telling his mother he had taken a number of paracetamol and other tablets.

Mrs McLoughlin said that in March her son admitted he had used heroin and said he owed money for a “drug debt”.

Miss Lowe said while she knew her former boyfriend had smoked cannabis she was not aware he had used heroin.

In the days before his death Mr McLoughlin had been staying with close friend Spencer Vanenburg.

Mr Vanenburg said Mr McLoughlin had once said everyone would be better off without him. “I told him not to be daft.”

Miss Lowe said after their split Mr McLoughlin had phoned her between 60 and 80 times a day.

“He would say things like, ‘You will miss me when I am gone’. I tried not to react to it because he threatened it so much. I did not believe he would do it.”

On March 19 Miss Lowe was out with a friend in Chester when Mr McLoughlin turned up.

“We had a huge row and he was distressed and I was agitated. As I turned into Northgate Street I said to Pat I was going and he said to me ‘you will regret it tomorrow’.”

David Herrington said he and a fellow runner found Mr McLoughlin hanging from scaffolding in Deans Field, near the Kings Charles Tower, at about 6.20am on March 20.

Returning an open verdict, assistant deputy coroner for Cheshire Geoff Roberts said: “We have heard Patrick was impetuous and it appears he did not have the maturity or coping mechanisms for dealing with life’s difficulties. This did not help in coming to terms with his split with his girlfriend.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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