Inquest hears tragic tale of father-of-two's death

David Patterson-Swankie
David Patterson-Swankie

A popular Wigan dad who “always had a smile on his face” took his own life following a series of devastating events, an inquest has heard.

David Patterson-Swankie, 29, of Grenfell Close hanged himself on April 20 despite having no previous history of any mental health problems.

Mr Swankie’s family and friends, minus his two young children, attended his inquest at Bolton Coroners Court on Monday.

Evidence given by his mother, Shirley Swankie, revealed how her son who was always the “laughing and joking” type had been left “devastated” when his partner, Sarah, was handed a lengthy jail sentence for drugs offences.

Mrs Swankie’s statement, read out by Coroner Jennifer Leeming, said: “It was a stormy relationship, which often ended up with him coming home but he would go back because she was upset. It continued to progress and six months into the relationship David found out Sarah was going to go to court. She was sentenced to seven years in prison for drugs offences. He was devastated.”

After his partner was sent to prison, Mr Swankie continued to live in her house, but was made redundant from his job as a mechanical engineer and began to suffer from financial problems.

On top of these concerns, Mr Swankie was reportedly being harassed by his partner’s “acquaintances” who were demanding that he pay money owed by Sarah.

On the night before his death, Mrs Swankie had received a text message from her son asking that she “tell everyone he loved them” and that he would “see them in the next world.”

Sobbing, Mrs Swankie told the court: “He had everything to live for; two children, friends. He was well liked and he was a character. I just wish he had spoken to us.”

She also said that Sarah had “taken up with” a woman in jail. "I don't know whether she told him that night," she said. "For him to do that I don't understand it."

Police were called to his address on January 20 after the family failed to gain access to the house. Mr Swankie's beloved dog could be heard barking from inside, and it was then, Mrs Swankie said, she knew that her son was in there.

Mrs Leeming did not reach a verdict as to why Mr Swankie took his own life but was certain it was suicide.