Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Ex-Wigan rugby star hanged himself just four days after fiancée called off wedding

Ex-Wigan rugby star hanged himself just four days after fiancée called off wedding

| By Glen Keogh

A former Wigan Rugby League player who was planning to marry hanged himself just four days after his bride-to-be broke off their engagement, an inquest heard.

Anthony Hughes, 30, was due to tie the knot with Charlotte Thompson after a four year relationship but it crumbled due to his long battle against severe bouts of depression.

The Wigan St. Patrick’s winger sent a text messages to Charlotte saying ‘I’m sorry for everything’ before saying: ''bye'' to her in a phone call.

The father of one was later found dead on July 10 at his home in Springfield, Wigan, Greater Manchester by his mother after he sent her a text urging her not to go to his house. Following a hearing into Mr Hughes's death Miss Thompson urged men to seek help and not be ‘embarrassed’ by depression.

“Anthony was amazing - a brilliant dad and a brilliant partner. He was really loving,'' she said. ''But the depression did come on quickly so it was still a shock when it happened.

"People are still embarrassed by depression even though it is becoming more recognised now. It’s not something to be ashamed of and men who feel as though they are suffering should go forward and get help as soon as they recognise they have a problem.”

 Earlier the Bolton inquest heard how Mr Hughes had played rugby league for England schoolboys and worked as a sports youth development officer - working alongside volunteers from the Prince's Trust.

But he had been struggling with depression since 2005 after a series of failed relationships. He tried to take an overdose in that year but was not prescribed with anti depressants until 2011. Last year he was found by police preparing to jump from a motorway bridge, but was talked down and taken to hospital.

Miss Thompson said of her relationship with Mr Hughes: ''We had our problems as people do. He did have down periods and up periods with the depression which we worked through.

"There was a strain because of his problems and around the end of May we decided to have a trial separation where I moved back to my parents’ house.

“Around July 6 I decided the relationship couldn’t continue. I still saw him but he didn’t take it well at all. I saw him and he was really upset. He didn’t go to work that week and he was really down but I stayed with him on Monday 7th then went to work on the Tuesday.

''He was still upset and wasn’t going to work. During that day I received texts form him and some of those stated he intended to harm himself. He also threatened to kill himself during the texts. I didn’t think he was being serious.

“I saw him on Wednesday July 9 and he seemed a lot more positive. He text me 6 o clock the next morning and said he had been up all night and it was as if he finally accepted the relationship was over.

"He was apologising, saying ‘I’m sorry for everything’. Looking back it seems he had made the decision but he wasn’t making threats like he had been.

“He rang me at about 12.20pm when I was at work. We spoke for about a minute and I said I would ring him back later. He paused for a while and said ‘bye’ and that was it. I tried to ring him as soon as I could but couldn’t get hold of him.

“He was very troubled by depression but from around November to May he had made lots of progress and was mostly back to his usual self but when we had a falling out he went right back down to rock-bottom.”

Mr Hughes' mother Patricia, a pub landlady said: ''He was the perfect son. He was very active and enjoyed sports, especially rugby league.

"In his job he helped a lot of young people and found it very rewarding. His depression started around the time he broke up with his son’s mum. He became more withdrawn, his work suffered. Before that he never felt sad at any time, he couldn’t process that feeling.

"He was happy-go-lucky and succeeded in everything he did but then everything just turned upside down for him.”

 She added: “He and Charlotte were planning to be married but his last bout of depression came on so severely. I don’t think any of us could see it coming.

"He had been getting on with his life. He came to me and it had been going on because he and Charlotte had split up which had been brought on with his depression.

"He came to see me and told me he was going to do it. He told me he was going to kill himself. We had arranged an appointment with the mental health crisis team for the earliest time we could. 

"My last contact with him was a text on the day he died where he asked me not to go to his address.''

Mr Hughes' GP Dr Naveen Lokikere, said: “We spoke about a possible suicide attempt when he had been found with a tie around his neck. He confirmed that he was feeling better but a further appointment was arranged. He said he had bounced back and was not feeling suicidal.”

On the day of his death Dr Lokikere spoke to Mr Hughes and offered him an appointment but he failed to show up for it.

Recording a suicide verdict coroner Rachel Griffin said: “He was a popular young man with many friends, was very close to his family and was a very hard-worker. His most recent job as a youth development officer saw him help a lot of young people and he did considerable work to help others.

“Unfortunately Anthony had problems in his life. Depression is an illness and one that is difficult and challenging to overcome and quite clearly he had periods when he was well and in good spirits and also periods of very low mood. For years he battled with that illness and worked hard to combat it.

“In early July following a temporary separation and reduced contact with Miss Thompson, the relationship between them came to an end which distressed him very much and saddened him and he found it very difficult to deal with.

 “This is a very tragic case as Anthony was clearly a very well-liked and well-loved young man who was instrumental in his work helping others, but sadly had his own problems to fight which he did try to.”

Story via Cavendish Press

Image courtesy of Facebook, with thanks.