A "unique and much-loved" dad tragically died by suicide, after a longrunning battle with cocaine and alcohol, an inquest heard.
Andrew Parker, from Goldborne, near Newton-le-Willows, was discovered collapsed and unresponsive in a hotel room in Wigan town centre on March 24.
The 41-year-old, who played for a number of amateur rugby league sides including Wigan St Patricks, sent a message to his wife, Melanie, saying he loved her and her children and was 'sorry for letting them all down' - reports the Manchester Evening News.
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He was found to have taken a significant amount of cocaine prior to his death.
An inquest at Bolton Coroners Court, it was heard how Mr Parker had struggled with depression and substance abuse for several years.
His wife told the hearing her husband would frequently "binge" on cocaine and alcohol at weekends and would later experience a "comedown effect" which left him feeling depressed.
She said Mr Parker managed to stop drinking in the lead up to Christmas last year, but seemed to be worried about relapsing over the festive period.
She added: "He was really quiet and a bit moody.
"It was not what Andy was like. He was never a moody or quiet person.
"He could foresee what was coming and was worrying about it."
Mrs Parker told the inquest she noticed a deterioration in her husband as Christmas approached.
She said: "He started drinking a lot.
"From January, he was just in a spiral. It was a pattern of every weekend he went drinking, used cocaine and then came down all week, then he would do it again."
On March 14, the inquest heard Mr Parker moved out of the family home following an argument with his wife.
Mrs Parker said: "I could not take it anymore, he wanted to stop but he wouldn't."
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The couple later reconciled and were in "constant contact", according to Mrs Parker, although she refused to allow him to move back in with her and her children.
She said: "He needed to sort himself out, I said to him that I feel like the more I'm helping, I'm just enabling you."
On March 19, she phoned the police after becoming concerned by a post on Mr Parker's Facebook about him "going out with a bang."
Officers found him at a hotel in Warrington but, following an assessment, decided there was no immediate risk of Mr Parker harming himself.
Mrs Parker said that following this, her husband planned to "sort himself out", booking a GP appointment and promising to start attending support groups.
But on the morning of March 24, Mrs Parker woke up to a number of "concerning" messages from her husband.
In one, he told her he loved her and her children and was 'sorry for letting them all down'.
Helplines and support groups
The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you're worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]
- CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably (0800 58 58 58) is a leading movement against suicide. It runs a UK helpline and webchat from 5pm to midnight 365 days a year for anyone who has hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support.
- PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won't show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.
- Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
- Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: [email protected]
- Paul's Place - providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: [email protected]
The Martin Gallier Project - offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email: triage[email protected]
When he failed to respond to several messages and calls, Mrs Parker rang the Premier Inn hotel where he had checked in the previous afternoon.
A member of staff went to Mr Parker's room and found his body.
Paramedics arrived and tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Pathologist Dr Stephen Wells said toxicology tests revealed Mr Parker had drank alcohol and taken a "significant amount of cocaine" prior to his death.
Mr Wells told the hearing it was possible that the "psychological effect of cocaine and alcohol may have had some effect on his state of mind."
Dr Syed Shahbazi, a GP at Family Medical Practice, said Mr Parker had reported drug and alcohol misuse as far back at 2007 and had been prescribed anti-depressants "on and off."
During an appointment on March 22, he said Mr Parker told him he felt "life was not worth living" and revealed that he had contacted mental health services for help.
Assistant coroner Stephen Teasdale recorded a conclusion of "suicide" and said he was satisfied Mr Parker intended to end his life.
If you have been affected by any of the details mentioned in this story there are people who can help you.
Most people grieve when they lose something or someone important to them.
The way grief affects you depends on lots of things, including what kind of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health.
Grieving is a totally normal process but there are way to get help if you need support.
Your GP is a good place to start. They can give you advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor, or prescribe medication if needed.
Or you can contact support organisations directly, such as Cruse Bereavement Care (0808 808 1677) Samaritans (116 123) or Love Jasmine.
He said: "He had the separation and he was working back. That seems to have been his best chance of reforming. He seems to be trying to reform.
"There is a period of time where he may have taken further cocaine and alcohol.
"It seems to be as a result of that combinations that he made a tragic decision."
Wigan St Patricks paid tribute to Mr Parker following his death.
A post on the club's Facebook page read: "Our club once again has been shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Andy Parker, former player and much loved member of Wigan St Patricks.
"Andy could light up any room, was a joy to be around and a valued team mate to many players and his coaches.
"He was unique, funny and loved by many people at our club. Being in his company was an experience for sure.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone who's life he touched.
"A light has certainly gone out with his passing. We will remember you always and hope you have found the peace you needed."
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