A former Blackpool hotel which it was hoped could be transformed into a safe haven for soldiers struggling with thoughts of suicide was trashed by thieves who flooded the place.
The building on the corner of Yates Street and Dickson Road was earmarked as a possible home for a new crisis housing centre for people with serious mental health problems.
It was proposed that the home would be set up in memory of tragic kingsman Jordan Corcoran, who killed himself with a huge drugs overdose in July last year shortly after disappearing from his home at Weeton Barracks.
But on July 16, the building was broken into by callous thieves who stripped its water pipes, causing a huge flood which caved in the ceiling.
Angelica Ashbrook, 51, of Grange Road, who proposed the housing project, said: “We got the property and had some lovely guys do it up. It got new boilers and new pipes, electricity and plumbing, and it had been replastered and painted.
“Somebody called Liz (the property owner) and they said ‘you’d better get down here, there’s a lot of water coming out’.
“It was soon obvious that thieves had broke into the building.
“They had stolen all the copper piping and didn’t even have the grace to turn the water off. The whole building was flooded. All the ceiling came crashing down like a domino effect, all the way through to the bottom floor.”
Mrs Ashbrook, who has worked as a crisis negotiator specialising in suicide for 12 years, still hopes to turn the building into a safe space where both soldiers and civilians can improve their mental health with the help of her husband, Glen Wilson, a psychologist.
But she said the break-in has saddled them with a huge £30,000 bill.
“To be honest, I feel totally, absolutely despondent,” she said.
“I have gone in and I have seen the damage. At first it was just a matter of raising the funds. We were hoping to find sponsors to help with the clean-up and carpeting - but this has set us back £30,000, and I just don’t know if we’ll be able to afford it.
“When I walked in, I just couldn’t believe it. I wondered if it was all worth it any more.”
She added: “What’s awful is that the people who have done this might one day need our help and we’ll never even know. That’s the worst thing about it.
“Jordan Corcoran was my friend’s son and if I had known what he was going through I could have helped him.
“His death absolutely devastated a lot of people. He was a very popular lad.
“When somebody takes their own life, their family and friends are more likely to attempt to take their own lives. When one person is exposed to suicide, it spreads. It’s like a little web.
“We can’t have any more Jordans dying.
“You may think your death with free you from pain and suffering, but it passes on to several other people instead. Your suicide doesn’t end with you. Your death will make your loved ones extremely ill too, and if they are already suffering with poor mental health then that heightens the risk enormously.
“Sadly many people can lose their lives as the suicide web catches them too.”
There will be a huge clean-up at the former hotel this weekend. Volunteers can offer their help from 9am today and tomorrow.
Generous local tradesmen who want to offer their services are also welcome.
'Things became too much for him'
Kingsman Jordan Corcoran killed himself with a huge overdose of cocaine at his army base.
The soldier, who had a young son, was last seen alive in his room at Weeton Barracks, on Singleton Road, at 3am on July 4, 2018. He was reported missing later that day.
Police released two missing person appeals in two days in the hope of tracing him.
On July 12 at around 9.30pm, his body was found in a dense woodland area some 20 metres from the camp perimeter fence, hidden from view.
The coroner’s report said ‘he had clearly been deceased for some time’, and that there was no evidence that he was alive after July 4, the day he disappeared.
A toxicological analysis revealed that, in the hours before his death, Mr Corcoran had voluntarily taken ‘an extremely high quantity of cocaine with the intention of ending his life’.
At his inquest at Blackpool Town Hall on November 12, coroner Alan Wilson handed down a conclusion of suicide.
He said: “He had taken cocaine in gross levels and this would have affected his heart rhythm massively. He would have known that taking this level of cocaine would have been fatal. Things became too much for him. With extremely high levels of cocaine, he intended to end his life.’’
A Facebook page, called ‘Remembering Jordan Corcoran’, was created in Mr Corcoran’s memory.
Family and friends paid tribute to the much-loved young dad, and laid poppies in his memory on Remembrance Day.
Schooldays friend Ben Thomas said: “I have so many funny memories and laughs in and out of school with you, mate. So sad and the last thing anyone expected.”
Another fellow pupil at Lytham High, Vikki Louise, added: “He was so kind to me when many others weren’t. He probably wouldn’t have remembered, but I do. What a loss to the world. I am so sorry.”