A man in emergency council housing took his own life after being told he would have to give up his pets.
John Chadwick, 52, was staying in a bed and breakfast in Maidstone, Kent, when he was told he couldn’t take his cat and two dogs to a council flat he’d been offered.
The animal lover from Salford, Greater Manchester, was then found dead at the emergency accommodation on March 15 – the anniversary of his mother’s death – having sent a final text to his friends.
At an inquest, Assistant Coroner Ian Wade concluded that Mr Chadwick’s death was a suicide, and that the potential loss of his animals was a ‘key factor’ in his death.
Mr Chadwick’s two Jack Russell crosses Theo and Tinkerbell were looked after by one of his friends until they could be rehomed, while his cat Gizmo now lives with another friend’s daughter.
The inquest heard he struggled with alcoholism, anxiety and depression, and had spent a significant amount of time sleeping rough in Manchester.
He eventually came to the attention of a homelessness charity, which moved him to Kent so he could receive treatment for his drink problems at the Kenward Trust in Yalding.
He then settled down in Maidstone, where he was said to have made a number of friends.
One of his friends Dee Bonnet, 50, said they had all been left ‘devastated’ by the news of his death.
‘He had become such a close friend,’ she said. ‘He was like the partner I never had, and losing him is one of the worst things I have ever been through.’
She added: ‘He loved those animals so much. He was like Ace Ventura, he gave them so much love.
‘He needed them to wake up to and go home to at the end of the day. I knew he wouldn’t be able to cope without them.’