An Oldham man who made a ‘rash decision’ took his own life at a North Wales caravan park, a coroner concluded. Gary Croft, 55, was found dead by his partner at Ty Gwyn holiday park in Towyn.
An inquest held in Ruthin on Wednesday (May 25) into Mr Croft’s death heard his Marie Little discovered him on the morning of December 15, 2021, North Wales Live reports. Ms Little said she hadn’t spoken to Mr Croft for several days before he passed away as she thought he was ‘in a mood’ after being woken up a few days earlier.
She told the court it was not unusual for Mr Croft, of Littlemore Lane, Oldham, to go missing for a number of days. He had done this on at least 15 occasions previously, the court heard.
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As time passed with no contact from him, she became increasingly concerned so began contacting his friends and searching in places she thought he might be. At around 10.30am on December 15, Ms Little visited the Ty Gwyn holiday park, where she found Mr Croft lying face down on the floor, with packets of tablets around him.
Ms Little said she initially thought he was sleeping, but realised he had died when she reached down to touch him. North Wales Police and the Welsh Ambulance Service were called to the site and Mr Croft was pronounced dead at 12.47pm.
The inquest heard officers from North Wales Police attended on behalf of John Gittins, senior coroner for north Wales east and central. Ms Little told the hearing Mr Croft had mentioned ‘ending it all’ when things had been difficult in the past, and said he struggled to see a way out at times.
Paying tribute to her partner in a statement, she said: “He is deeply missed and his memory will be cherished by all that knew and loved him.”
The coroner reviewed evidence from pathologist Dr Mark Atkinson, who noted that alongside painkillers in his blood, Mr Croft also showed signs of smoke inhalation. A post-mortem examination was performed, but a test for carbon monoxide poisoning could not be carried out due to the time that had passed since Mr Croft’s death.
Taking into account the evidence, particularly the soot on Mr Croft’s face, Dr Atkinson gave a cause of death of smoke inhalation. In light of Dr Atkinson’s findings and evidence to suggest Mr Croft had intentionally disconnected a smoke alarm, the coroner ruled a conclusion of suicide.
Addressing Ms Little, Mr Gittins said: “In life, people make rash decisions and most people get away with it but sadly, Gary didn’t. I’m sure that you must miss him massively and it has left a big hole in your life.”