Much-loved traveller died in friend’s caravan after tragic loss of siblings

A well-known member of Manchester's travelling community died in his friend's caravan after taking a large quantity of prescription medication, an inquest has heard. Dad-of-six Patrick Douglas Sharp had nine siblings - and had occasionally struggled with depression following the loss of his little brother Tommy after the sudden death of their sister Helen. The 41-year-old, known as Paddy, came to Manchester after being born in Newcastle.

He had sent a number of text messages to friends and family on the morning of March 6 of this year indicating he had taken a large quantity of prescription medication. He then arrived at his friend John Warburton's caravan in Station Road, Great Harwood, where he was seen 'stumbling' down the road. 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 he was later pronounced dead, reports LancsLive. READ MORE Mums who stole GBP5,000 worth of sunglasses from Trafford Centre spared jail because of their children After Paddy's death, mourners, including My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, gathered at Our Lady and the Apostles Church in Stockport where a lavish send-off included a plane leaving a smoke trail in the orange, white and green colours of the Irish flag while a glass carriage pulled by six white horses.

A flat bed truck displaying several large floral tributes, including six hearts for each of his six daughters, was parked opposite the church. Other tributes included a flowers arranged in the shape of the scrap metal worker's truck, while his daughters wore hoodies with a picture of Paddy on the front underneath the words 'Daddy we love you rest in peace'.

The funeral of Paddy Sharp at Our Lady and the Apostles church in Stockport

At an inquest held at Accrington Town Hall (September 26) heard how Paddy occasionally became depressed, usually when he had been drinking, and an ambulance had previously been called when he revealed he had taken an excess of painkillers. Paddy's sister Kathleen revealed her family had suffered 'great heartbreak' in the last few years. "We've had a lot of deaths in the family," she said. "We lost my sister and then his baby brother."

Immediately after taking the pills, on the morning of March 6, Paddy informed his friends and family and also called 999 himself. His family did not believe he intended to end his life - a conclusion shared by Area Coroner Richard Taylor. "If someone has taken too much medication my concern is 'what intent did they have at that time?'," Mr Taylor said. "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."

Planes fly overhead at the funeral

Sergeant Phil Higham of Lancashire Constabulary attended the scene in Station Road after Paddy's death and interviewed several witnesses including John Warburton. "He said he was incoherent and not making much sense," Sgt Higham recalled.

"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.

Help and support

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you're worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They're open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester that has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK.

Calls are free and the number won't show up on your phone bill. PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal. Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders.

These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends.

Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/ Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org

For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/ "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 Paddy had levels of oxycodone in his system within the range encountered in fatalities. There was no alcohol in his blood but there was some evidence of cocaine use. Returning a conclusion of misadventure - where a death is caused as a result of the unintended consequences of an intended act - the coroner said: "Patrick Douglas Sharp died on March 6, 2022, in Station Road having ingested an excess of medication."

READ NEXT: