Depression claimed the life of a young dad who hanged himself from a tree after going missing from home for a few hours.
Steven Cousins (25), of Millfield Gardens, Crowland, was found dead by his mum, Jane Cousins, beside the town’s B1166 Gravel Causeway shortly after 8am on October 8 last year.
Steven’s GP Dr Fleur England, who had treated him for depression, was flagged down at the scene by members of his family, and found “clear and unequivocal evidence that he had been dead for some time”.
An inquest at Boston heard Steven had argued on the phone with his estranged partner the previous day because he didn’t want his children to visit him when he was feeling down.
There was also evidence given about a knife attack that changed the course of Steven’s life.
In a statement to the coroner’s officer, Jane Cousins said: “I don’t blame Kerry for Steven’s death. Kerry loved the Steven she first knew. Steven changed five years ago when he was stabbed by his best friends Paul and Mark O’Reilly.
“After this, Steven didn’t trust anyone any more.”
She said the wound was “right next to his kidneys” and Steven ended up in hospital.
“He had been drinking with them earlier that evening,” she said. “He changed after that.”
Coroner Professor Robert Forrest said it was clear Steven had suffered from depression for several years following the assault and the break-up from the mother of his children.
He recorded a verdict of suicide.
Professor Forrest told Steven’s family: “Every time I do an inquest I get overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness and when it’s a young person, who has left children behind, and they are a very loving family it’s much worse.
“Steven died before his time.
“Depression is a terrible, terrible illness and a lot of people don’t take it seriously, although I think most doctors now do.
“The only thing that I could say is that Steven’s death isn’t something that’s as a result of being unable to cope – it’s because he’s suffered from this terrible illness with a very high death rate.
“I really do offer the family my sincere condolences.”
Steven lived with his mum at the time of his tragic death.
After speaking on the phone to his estranged partner on October 7, Steven had watched TV.
His mum went out and he was gone when she returned at 6.40pm.
She texted him to say ‘where are you?’ and there were ten missed calls on his phone from her.
The mum also went on Facebook to see if anyone knew where he was.
She was woken at 8am the next day, was told Steven hadn’t returned, and went to the place where he took his life.
In her statement, the mum said: “I just knew he was there.”
• Mark O’Reilly, then aged 18, pleaded guilty to unlawfully wounding Steven and was sentenced to three years’ prison at Lincoln Crown Court in April 2010. He also admitted possessing an offensive weapon. His twin, Paul, was given a 40-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted affray and possession of an offensive weapon.