The heartbroken family of a Wigan dad, who was found dead in woodlands, say they were caused “unnecessary weeks of heartache” by the nearly two-month-long search for him.
Scott Sharples’ body was found near a tree in Borsdane Brook, on May 17. Tragically, he had taken his own life.
The 28-year-old hadn’t been seen since March 20 in Hindley, and was reported missing to the police two days later.
His sudden and out-of-character disappearance had gripped the community, with appeals for information going viral across social media - appeals which were sadly in vain.
At his inquest at Bolton Coroners Court, coroner Timothy Brennand concluded that Mr Sharples had hanged himself on the very day he went missing (and before it was reported to the authorities), meaning any police searches would not have saved him.
But his family today revealed their pain at waiting several weeks for any breakthrough in the investigation.
Suzanne Price, Scott’s partner of nine years and mother to his three children, accepted that more searches would not have affected the outcome, but that they could have been spared “unnecessary weeks of heartache.”
The area in which Scott was found was described as “remote” and “dense” by the police, who had searched Borsdane Brook more than once.
But it was ultimately a dog walker who discovered Scott’s body while on a casual walk - something the family felt was indicative of a lack of effort from GMP to find him.
Scott’s father Gary said: “It took them weeks to put anything on social media. And even then the description of what he was wearing was wrong.”
Suzanne added that, had Scott been found earlier, his little girls “would have been able to say goodbye.”
Reaching a verdict of suicide, Mr Brennand said for Scott to be “missing for that extensive period of time is incomprehensible.”
Following the inquest, Suzanne said: “He was a great dad. He was always full-on, and hands-on.”
Gary said: “He was always having a laugh. That’s why it’s so shocking, because he was just happy all the time.
“Everybody is shocked, they can’t get over it. He was one of a kind.”
A spokesman for GMP said: “This was a tragic case and our thoughts and best wishes remain with Scott’s family.
“Upon receiving a missing from home report for Scott, a comprehensive search was undertaken by officers from Greater Manchester Police.
"Officers will continue to be available to the family should they need to contact us.”
Samaritans are available to listen at any time. Call the charity’s free 24/7 helpline on 116 123 or ring 01942 492 222.