’Loving and talented’ Blackpool dad with ‘everything to live for’ killed himself after years of mental health problems

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A young Blackpool dad with with “everything to live for” killed himself after years of struggling with his mental health.

Dale Armstrong, 26, was found dead in the bathroom of his Belmont Avenue home a day after having an argument with his wife.

Dale Armstrong and Cara Morris outside the Blackpool Tower. Dale Armstrong took his own life on November 26 2018 after years of struggling with mental health problems. Picture submitted by Cara Morris

Dale Armstrong and Cara Morris outside the Blackpool Tower. Dale Armstrong took his own life on November 26 2018 after years of struggling with mental health problems. Picture submitted by Cara Morris

His inquest heard how the dad-of-four, who was a music producer, suffered from mental health problems including bipolar disorder, and had tried to kill himself before.

Cara Morris, 24, who told the court she and Dale married in 2017, has now vowed to help others battling thoughts of suicide as she studies to become a mental health support worker at Blackpool and The Fylde College. Dale’s mother, Fiona Burrell, is raising cash for charities in his memory, including Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.

Cara said: “I was distraught. It was very difficult for me at first, then as time went on I started picking myself up. Now I’m in university studying mental health care because of this, so I can prevent anything else like this happening.

“Dale was a loving father. He was always there to help them whenever they 
needed him. But he would isolate himself. He wouldn’t talk to anyone, he wouldn’t open up to anyone, no matter how much I tried to talk to him about it.”

Dale Armstrong as a child. Picture submitted by Fiona Burrell

Dale Armstrong as a child. Picture submitted by Fiona Burrell

Dale was last seen alive by Cara at 7pm on Sunday, November 25 last year.

The couple were staying at Cara’s mother’s house on Central Drive to help her move, the court heard, but they fell out and Dale went back to the couple’s home.

Cara went to pick up some clean clothes and said Dale took that to mean she was leaving him, though she tried to reassure him that wasn’t the case.

The couple continued their row through text messages after Cara left. The last message from Dale, sent at 8.30pm, read “Bye Cara.”

Cara said she was not alarmed as they had had worse arguments in the past.

The following afternoon, she returned to Belmont Avenue but found the front door locked. Shortly after 5pm on November 26, she got inside the house using a spare key and searched for her husband, finding him hanged in the upstairs bathroom.

She said: “Just before I went into the bathroom my heart started racing. I knew something was wrong, and that’s when I found him.”

Cara called 999 and alerted their neighbour, Darren King.

He told the inquest: “I was sitting in the living room. At this time I heard banging at the window. I looked out, I saw Cara and she was shouting, ‘Help’. Cara was hysterical, saying, ‘I think Dale’s dead’.”

Mr King went with Cara back inside the house, put Dale in the recovery position, and performed CPR until paramedics arrived five minutes later.

They said Dale had been dead for some time.

Handing down a conclusion of suicide, coroner Derek Baker said: “Dale was a good father and had everything to live for. He was sadly plagued by mental health problems.

“Dale was found in a locked house. In this particular case this was not a cry for help. I don’t think he wanted to be disturbed. I think Dale Armstrong took a deliberate decision to take life his on that day, and he did so.

Cara said: “I want people to know if you are having suicidal thoughts, if you think you’re not good enough, if you think you don’t deserve to be here, you do. We are all here for a reason.

“If you’re feeling suicidal, get that help. It’s difficult, there is a waiting list, but you will get it.”

The court heard that Dale had approached mental health services and had an appointment arranged for just a few days after he died.

His mum Fiona said: “Dale was funny, he was extremely talented, extremely intelligent. He was the most loving person you could ever wish to meet.

“He produced a lot of music.

“You always expected the unexpected from Dale. He told really bad jokes. He was very intelligent. He was helping his dad build computers from the age of five.”