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The Manchester Evening News
By Timothy Gallagher, Alexandra Rucki
11:08, 16 AUG 2019UPDATED11:09, 16 AUG 2019
Christopher Brown, 26, was found dead at the home he shared with his parents
Christopher Brown, 26, took his own life after becoming embroiled in a tug-of-love battle over his daughter.
A heartbroken dad was found hanged in his parents caravan after he became embroiled in a tug-of-love battle over his daughter.
Christopher Brown, 26, was due to face court and had been initially warned he faced jail after he broke a court order banning him from contacting the five-year-old girl’s mother.
On March 26, 2019, Mr Brown was found dead at the home he shared with his mum and stepfather in South Shore, Blackpool, Lancs.
A ”moving” suicide note was left in his bedroom. Police discovered his body in a caravan in his parents back garden.
Mr Brown, who ran his own construction business, split up with the child’s mother in 2014.
Christopher Brown, 26, ran his own construction business.
An inquest heard he became distressed about not having access to his daughter who had moved 150 miles away to Sunderland and was prescribed anti-depressants.
During the legal dispute Mr Brown claimed he did not have proper visitation rights and tried to get a ruling in family court. He had also made several previous attempts on his life including on one occasion walking into the sea at the resort.
On New Year’s day this year Mr Brown posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook saying: ”Another year another smile, but not for me just for a while. Tears fall I can take some more heart ache and heart break to see your smile just for a while. I’ll fight for the delight of your comforting touch, soul by soul, tear by tear, next year we will smile without fear. I love you baby girl. Daddy misses you so much.”
In February Mr Brown was detained and kept in police cells after breaching a protection and harassment order made against his ex-partner following a Face Time call and was ordered to face court on June 5.
His stepfather, Anthony Cummings, told the Blackpool hearing: ”His daughter’s mother took her to Sunderland and Chris had restricted visiting. The contact was mainly through Chris’ mum but it was supervised.
Christopher Brown, of South Shore, Blackpool.
“He was worried about the magistrates at first but then he found out that they were going to call his ex-partner to the court. He was told that things were looking up for him.
“He had been told he could be looking at six months custodial but once he had seen his solicitor and found out that she was being called and they had been looking at the evidence on her phone things were looking better for him. But the contact with the daughter that was what I think was his main sources for what happened.”
Mr Cummings added: ”He had started his own business up, but work was on and off and with it being construction and building you were always waiting for somebody else to get paid before you for paid.
“He had a few debts but not a massive amount. In winter time he would sleep in the house and then summer he would go into the caravan.
“As far as I was aware his medication got stopped in October by the GP because he had tried overdosing on his antidepressants. We thought he had been out all day but to get to the caravan you’ve got to go through the house, he must have been there all day.
“I didn’t think he would take his own life there were times when he was really happy and there were other times when he was down. But the day before and the week before there was no signs whatsoever.
Christopher Brown was told he faced jail if he tried to make contact with his daughter’s mother.
A coroner’s officer report said: “Christopher Brown had previously been diagnosed with PTSD, he had attempted to commit suicide on a number of occasions in the past. He had been prescribed antidepressants. At 8am on 26th March his mother and father left the home address for work.
“At 4pm the same day Christopher’s mother went into his bedroom to open the window, he wasn’t in the room then. She says at 10 o’clock she went back into the bedroom to close the window when she discovered a note.
“They then went into the back garden, there was the mobile caravan where he kept his tools but were unable to get access due to the door being barricaded from the inside. Entry was forced and Mr Brown was found hanged.
“The family stated he had been diagnosed with PTSD and had been waiting for an appointment to see the mental health team since October. When he was admitted to hospital having cut his wrists and taken an overdose. But since October he appeared to be coping, going through the family courts to see his daughter. He had no problems with alcohol or drugs.
An unnamed officer who attended the scene of the tragedy said: “I was on uniformed patrol and at 10.20pm called to an address in Blackpool, there was concern for a male who left a suicide note. At 10.25pm we arrived, and a female told us her son had locked himself in the caravan and she had a note she believed he had written.
Christopher Brown, 26
“With my colleague we made our way to the rear garden and shouted ‘Chris’ and got no response. We tried to open the door, but it was locked from the inside. We forced entry and I heard one of my colleagues say ‘he is hanging’.
A statement from Louise Barr a member of the mental health liaison team said: “On December 8 last year he arrived in the department by ambulance after being in the sea.
“He left A&E at 4.30 prior to being assessed by the mental health liaison team but then came back to the team at lunch time the same day. He did engage well at that time, he was well kept and there were no issues about his self-care. He had gone to his friend’s house.
“Chris’ mood was lowered, he did say that he had been struggling with his mental health for a number of years since 2011. He had ongoing issues in relation to access to his daughter and that had upset him.
“He said despite the court ruling he wasn’t always seeing his daughter and he found that distressing. In relation to the events described he did make an attempt to take his own life by walking into the sea, but he had been drinking and he remembers that he came out of the sea on his own.
Christopher Brown wrote a ‘moving’ suicide note before his body was discovered by police.
“He was relieved that that attempt to take his life was unsuccessful, it was agreed that he didn’t need to be admitted to a mental health hospital, but he did need some long-term support. He did agree to accept referral to the assessment and treatment team. His parents separated when he was young but he had a strong relationship with his mother.”
Recording a conclusion of suicide, assistant coroner Derek Baker said: “This is a very tragic case. He was a hard-working man, he had not problems with alcohol or drugs.
“I don’t doubt it was hard for him to run his own business, I know that he was upset that he wasn’t seeing his little girl regularly. It must have been on his mind that he had this pending magistrates’ proceedings, but I accept he wasn’t facing any period in custody and he could have gone through to courts to see his little girl.
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“He wrote a detailed and very moving note indicating his intention. After listening to the evidence of Mr Cummings I don’t think he wanted to be disturbed or for anyone to prevent him taking his own life.
“I think he was in the caravan for most of the day and he didn’t want you to know that he was there. This young man has been troubled with mental health problems for many years.
“I know you offered him the support and the support was there – he was clearly very close to both of you and I don’t think there was anything more you could have done.”
After the hearing Christopher’s sister, Roxan Brown, said: “The struggles of seeing his daughter really affected Chris. The mental health team said they would ring him, but his phone was on him when he went into the sea and it was destroyed. Then because of the harassment orders, he was constantly getting his phone taken by the police.
“It has always been a cry for help – we would know from the messages he would send that he was going to do something.”
A close friend added: “He was an amazing guy he just didn’t get the help he needed.”