Family’s tribute to Stoke-on-Trent dad-of-two with ‘heart of gold’ found dead at home



The family of a dad who took his own life during lockdown have described him as having a ‘heart of gold’.

An inquest heard Lee Vincent had sent several emotional text messages in the hours leading up to his death.

It culminated in a video call to his former partner. He then hanged himself in front of the live feed on WhatsApp and his ex-partner raised the alarm.

Paramedics had to climb through the kitchen window to get inside the locked house in Samuel Street, Packmoor. But it was too late to save the 43-year-old, who was pronounced dead at the scene on April 28.

Now Lee’s family have paid tribute to the father-of-two.

Mother Elizabeth Garnett said: “From Christmas onwards, he seemed to be doing well. The day before he passed away, he was in good spirits. We were laughing and joking. He gave me no indication of what was to follow.”

At the inquest, she said Lee had been ‘the most loving person’ who ‘adored’ his children.

The last time she saw him, her son had ‘left me with a lovely smile on his face’.

The inquest heard from a friend who said Lee had previously talked of killing himself and so he hadn’t believed his friend was going to carry things through this time.

He had received two texts from him. One said: “I’m no good to anybody.” The friend replied: “Don’t do anything stupid.”

The inquest was told the friend did not pass on this information to Lee’s family, despite seeing his brother that day.

“I now regret this with all my heart,” the friend added. “Had I thought differently, I would have been round his house in a shot. I thought he would be all right.”

A pathologist confirmed that Lee died from hanging.

Lee had reported mental health issues to his doctor over the years and had been referred to support organisations.

The inquest was told he’d also been prescribed medication. But against medical instructions, he would choose to come off it when he felt better.

North Staffordshire area coroner Emma Serrano recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Need help?

The Samaritans : 116 123. Website: www.samaritans.org . Email: jo@samaritans.org

Offer a 24-hour confidential helpline. You can also contact them by text or email.

Men Unite: A local group addressing the rising problem of suicide among men. If you would like to join the Men Unite Facebook group click here.

NHS 111 Service : 111. Website: www.nhs.uk .

Call the NHS 111 service if you urgently require medical help or advice. The service is availabe 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Mental Health Access Team : 0300 123 0907

The single point of contact and access for all North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust services. The Access Team provides 24/7 cover for all mental health and learning disability services across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.

Mind Infoline : 0300 123 3393. Website: www.mind.org.uk . Email: info@mind.org.uk. Text: 86463

Information on a range of mental health problems and support. Lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

HOPELineUK : 0800 068 41 41

A specialist telephone service staffed by trained professionals at PAPYRUS who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information to children, teenagers, young adults aged up to 35 and anyone concerned about a young person. Opening hours are 10am to 10pm, Mondays to Fridays, 2pm to 5pm, weekends and bank holidays.

NSPCC Childline : 0800 1111. Website: www.childline.org.uk

Children’s charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness.

SANE : 0845 767 8000. Website: www.sane.org.uk . Email: sanemail@sane.org.uk

Out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. Open every day from 6pm to 11pm.

Staffordshire Mental Health Helplin e: 0808 800 2234. Email: staffordshire.helpline@brighter-futures.org.uk. Text: 07860 022821





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