THE funeral of a former soldier who committed suicide is being held this afternoon following an appeal to help trace his family.
Eric O’Shaughnessy was 37 when he died of carbon monoxide poisoning at his Abinger Road home in Garswood last month.
St Helens Council published an appeal to help find his family after it was discovered he had no recorded next of kin and has said it received a tremendous response resulting in family and friends being identified.
The funeral will be held at 3.30pm today, Friday, at St Helens Crematorium on Rainford Road.
His best friend and fellow veteran Steve Gardiner has paid tribute to the former private who had served two tours in Afghanistan.
He told the Liverpool ECHO: “All the lads from his battalion are completely shocked. There was no better person to stand shoulder to shoulder with and to live with.
“He will be sorely missed, for his character and his presence. He would do anything for anyone, but lots of people are upset that it seems he didn’t feel able to ask for help from others.”
Nearly 30 people and veteran organisations contacted the council following the appeal, including some who had served with Mr O’Shaughnessy.
A hearing, held at St Helens town hall on October 2, was told that Mr O’Shaughnessy had rigged up a system to kill himself using household barbecues.
Coroner Christopher Sumner ruled he had taken his own life. Born in Galway, Republic of Ireland, Mr O’Shaughnessy had served for a time as a Private in the Infantry of The Royal Irish Regiment (General Services) from November 2007 to June 2011.
The council has said anyone wishing to provide support at the funeral should contact Coop Funeral Services on Eccleston Street, St Helens, on 01744 23675.