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Dad who missed son’s party found dead

Daniel Billington with son Jake in Tenerife.

Daniel Billington with son Jake in Tenerife.

A teenager has been left devastated after his 16th birthday celebrations ended in tragedy when his father was found dead.

Daniel Billington, 39, had flown from his home in Tenerife to attend son Jake’s 16th birthday.

A meal had been arranged at a Lytham restaurant but Mr Billington – known as Danny – failed to show up.

Police later told his concerned father, Ted, that Mr Billington was found dead in a flat in Blackpool at 5pm that day.

Today, police said the former Arnold School pupil’s death is being treated as sudden but not suspicious.

A post mortem examination has been carried out and police are waiting for results of toxicology tests.

Ted Billington, of North Clifton Street, Lytham, said he knew something was wrong when his son failed to arrive for Jake’s meal.

He said: “It wasn’t a premonition, I just knew something had happened.

“I just kept hoping he was at the hospital and was going to be OK.”

Danny, 39, had been staying at his father’s house since landing in the UK on Friday, December 6.

He spent Monday evening catching up with friends, and last saw his family at 11.30pm that night – the day before Jake’s birthday party at Saranya in Lytham.

Mr Billington, 68, said: “I thought he was staying with friends and that he’d show up at Jake’s party a little embarrassed having had too much to drink. When he didn’t show up, I knew then.

“After the party ended and everyone went to bed I was out with a torch around Lytham looking for him.”

Mr Billington phoned Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Wednesday, the day Danny was due to fly back to Tenerife, to see if he had been admitted.

An hour later, police came to his door to tell them his son was dead.

He added: “I’d like to know what happened to him but that knowledge is not going to bring my son back.

“It’s such a waste.”

After leaving Arnold School, Danny worked for his dad’s business, a furniture shop.

He met Jake’s mum, Sarah Robotham, at the age of 21 before moving to Tenerife when the relationship broke down after nine years together.

He worked as a builder on the Canary island, returning every two months to see Jake, a pupil at St Mary’s High School.

Miss Robothom, 38, said: “Danny was so excited about Jake’s birthday; it’s all he was talking about the days before.

“The night of the party we just weren’t sure where he was. We didn’t know what had happened but we didn’t want to worry Jake. We all knew something was wrong.

“It’s devastating. Jake was looking forward to spending time with Danny in Tenerife next year.”

Miss Robotham, of Selbourne Road, Blackpool, said Danny enjoyed taking Jake to the gym, and would teach him about what muscles to work on and nutrition.

She added: “He was such a positive person who liked to socialise with his friends.

“He was so proud of Jake, who has got Danny’s strength and courage.”

In his last letter to Jake sent from Tenerife, Danny wrote: “You have got the best of me and your mum so remember you can do anything you put your mind to... always remember my love for you.”

Danny was a keen sportsman in his early days, and played for the school’s rugby first team.

Danny also leaves brothers Andrew and Davey.

His funeral will be held at Lytham Crematorium at 9.30am tomorrow.

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