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The Derbyshire Telegraph
By Anita Merritt, Sarah McGee
13:31, 6 DEC 2019 UPDATED13:50, 6 DEC 2019
James Burt took his own life back in the back of a lorry
A family are urging more men to talk about their mental health issues after 23-year-old James Burt took his own life in the back of his work lorry.
According to Devon Live, the young dad had been working as an HGV driver for a logistics company and often slept in the back of his lorry after a relationship breakdown.
The former soldier’s body was found on at 8:15pm on April 20, after he had been reported missing.
A recent inquest found that James had been battling depression, which intensified in February (2019) after he moved out of the family home that he shared with his ex-partner and three-year-old son.
His ex-partner made a statement about their relationship, saying how they met in 2017 when she was 17 and he was 18.
In 2016 they had a child together and decided to move in together in 2018, when problems started to surface.
She talked about how there were many ‘tensions and arguments’ in the relationship which it to break down.
He moved out of the home, spending time sleeping in his lorry and living with his dad. He also got a new partner during this time.
James spent four years serving the British Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Image: Andy Sollars)
James’ ex-partner recalled how he threatened to kill himself in February of this year, which prompted her to call an ambulance.
In March, James took an overdose at his father’s home and was rushed to hospital; he survived this attempt on his life but was put on anti-depressants.
His ex-partner said the last time she saw James was the day he died; he came over to collect the last of his belongings and he stayed to cut the grass.
Before he left, he gave her some money for their son.
Around 45 minutes after leaving, James sent her a concerning text saying: “I’m sorry for everything; I really am and love you both so much and miss you.”
His new partner was also worried when James had not returned home.
His ex-partner added: “His death came as complete shock to me despite his previous suicide attempts. There was no indication or warning he intended to do this.
“I do not know what caused it.”
23-year-old James took his own life in April (Image: Alex McCord)
James’ dad, Andrew, also gave a statement during the inquest.
He said James was suffering from sleep exhaustion and deprivation when he came to him in February. He would be working nights, then would look after his son during the day.
Andrew Burt said: “He was clearly poorly and struggling with his mental health.”
However, Mr Burt said James managed to change his shifts and enjoyed a trip to Cornwall before he died; his father didn’t think his son would attempt to take his life again.
Mr Burt said: “It is such a waste. He was a great son and dad. He was clearly unwell but could not see past his troubles.
“The family is lost without him and it has been a truly awful time.”
A post-mortem examination confirmed that his death was caused by asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) caused by hanging. No alcohol or drugs were found in his system.
His GP confirmed in a statement that James had suffered from a low mood for several years but “never really addressed it”.
After his attempted overdose in March, he reported feeling better and was waiting to be contacted by mental health services.
Alison Longhorn, assistant coroner said: “I am satisfied, based on the evidence heard today, very sadly James intended to end his life and did so by hanging.”
After the inquest, James’ family said: “We would like to say to people to make sure you don’t hurt in silence; talk about it.
“Too many youngsters these days, especially males, are not talking about their problems. If anything can come out of James’ death it would be that.
“James was a brilliant sportsman and spent four years in the Army. He was quiet, but when he was out with his mates he was apparently a bit of a Jack the lad.
“If someone is bleeding or has broken their leg you can see what’s wrong, but you can’t see inside someone’s head to know they are ill, and they have a good way of camouflaging it and covering it.”
Alex, his former partner also paid tribute, saying: “There are absolutely no words to explain how much we miss James and his beautiful, kind personality.
“James would light up a room and do anything to make those he loved happy. He would of given you his last penny, or the shirt off his back. He was and always will be loved by many, while we live on keeping his memory alive.
“He has left a huge hole in the lives of those who treasured him, particularly his child. He was a loving and proud dad, and passed on every ounce of love and kindness to his son.
“We hope that people will remember James for the man who always smiled. Remember him as a person who loved his friends like they were family and remember that no matter how alone you may feel, there is always a reason to carry on.”