Beloved Geordie traveller died in caravan after sudden deaths of siblings

A well-known Geordie in the travelling community died in his friend's caravan after the sudden loss of his brother and sister. Patrick Douglas Sharp, who was one of nine siblings and was born in Newcastle, lost his little brother Tommy in 2020 after the sudden death of their sister Helen, reports LancsLive. Following these incidents, he had been known to struggle with depression.

Known as Paddy, the 41-year-old had sent a number of text messages to friends and family on the morning of March 6 this year, indicating that he had taken a large quantity of prescription medication. He later arrived at his friend John Warburton's caravan in Station Road, Great Harwood, where he was seen "stumbling" down the road. Read more: Newcastle city centre hotel guest threw iron and toaster out of upstairs window and trashed room

Paddy asked John if he could sleep in his caravan but John became concerned that afternoon when he heard a 'gurgling' sound coming from Paddy who appeared to be having difficulty breathing. An ambulance was called, but Paddy was later pronounced dead. Paddy's funeral was a lavish affair at the Our Lady and the Apostles Church in Stockport, with a send-off including a plane leaving a smoke trail in the colours of the Irish flag and a glass carriage pulled by six horses.

Mourners included Paddy Doherty, star of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Parked opposite the church was a flat bed truck displaying several large floral tributes, including a heart for each of Paddy's six daughters. An inquest held at Accrington Town Hall on September 26, Paddy's wife, sister, daughter and son-in-law described how he occasionally became depressed, usually when he had been drinking, and an ambulance had been called previously after he revealed he had taken an excess of painkillers.

Kathleen, Paddy's sister, said that her family had suffered 'great heartbreak' in the last few years. She said: "We've had a lot of deaths in the family, we lost my sister and then his baby brother." Paddy called 999 himself after taking the medication on the morning of March 6, and immediately informed his friends and family what he had done.

The Area Coroner Richard Taylor did not believe that he intended to end his life, a conclusion shared by his family.

Paddy's family and friends raise his coffin up as the plane passesPaddy's family and friends raise his coffin up as the plane passes

Mr Taylor said: "If someone has taken too much medication my concern is 'what intent did they have at that time? To find someone has taken their own life I must find they have done a deliberate act with the sole intention of ending their life and I have insufficient evidence to say he intended to take his life on that occasion. Sergeant Phil Higham of Lancashire Constabulary attended the scene on Station Road and interviewed several witnesses, including John Warburton.

Sergeant Higham recalled: "He said he was incoherent and not making much sense. "He allowed him into his caravan where he has gone to sleep. He wakes up around dinnertime, vomited and then cleaned it up and asked if he could go to sleep and he did.

Traveller Paddy Sharp with one of his brothersTraveller Paddy Sharp with one of his brothers

"Mr Warburton described hearing some funny breathing and gurgling noises at around 2.30pm.

When he went to check on him he found him not breathing." A post-mortem toxicology test revealed that Paddy had levels of oxycodone in his system within the range encountered in fatalities. There was no alcohol in his blood, but some evidence of cocaine use.

Paddy's family had raised concerns that his vehicle appeared to have been involved in a collision before he arrived at Mr Warburton's caravan. A tyre was damaged, but police concluded the most likely outcome was that Paddy had 'clipped the kerb,' resulting in a flat tyre. The coroner returned a conclusion of misadventure, where a death is caused as a result of the unintended consequences of an intended act.

He said: "Patrick Douglas Sharp died on March 6, 2022, in Station Road having ingested an excess of medication."

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