Lover’s copycat suicide — (Manchester Evening News)

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Manchester Evening News

Tariq Panja

October 29, 2004

BROKEN HEART: Gary McLaughlin

A HEARTBROKEN man hanged himself from the same beam his girlfriend used to kill herself, an inquest heard.

Gary McLaughlin, 42, was found hanged three months Julie Baker had ended her life.

An inquest heard how the couple had been next-door neighbours at Wellesbourne Drive, Wythenshawe, before they started an affair.

The dead man’s brother Paul McLaughlin described how the father-of-three had been happy in his new relationship.

But, after finding her body hanging from an upstairs beam, Gary’s life began to unravel.

“My brother died of a broken heart. He just wasn’t the same after Julie,” said Mr McLaughlin.

The steelworker, who was described as mild mannered, began using abusive language, took up smoking and started drinking.

His brother said that before his death, he was talking about ending his life. And regularly sent text messages to his family explaining how unhappy he had become.

Confided

He had also confided to his family that he blamed himself for his partner’s death.

“Gary was convinced that Julie had waited for him to rescue her,” added Mr McLaughlin.

He told the inquest at Manchester Coroners Court that on June 5 he received the final message, which read: “Come around here and be brave.”

Police were called after relatives were unable to find him. Officers forced their way into Julie Baker’s home where Mr McLaughlin was found hanging from the same beam that she had used to end her life.

A medical examination also found a massive amount of anti-depressants and alcohol in the body.

Recording a suicide verdict, city coroner Leonard Gorodkin said the substances in his body would probably have been enough to kill him on their own.

He described the circumstances as “quite exceptional” and added: “There’s no doubt he had become very low. He made comments about what he may do. The family were worried and were doing all they could do to support Gary. But my experience is once someone gets it into their minds, people can’t change it.”