'Kind-hearted' Ken, 64, died in his car boot after taking an overdose of medication

‘Lonely’ Kenneth Gallagher was found dead in the boot of his car after taking his own life. The 64-year-old had been reported missing by concerned family members who had not seen or heard from him for days. His body was found on December 11 last year inside his Audi Q7, which he had parked outside a business premises in Hartshill.

An inquest into Mr Gallagher’s death heard he had taken an overdose of the medication he was prescribed for his arthritis. Truck driver Mr Gallagher, of Park Avenue, Wolstanton, loved driving and had a passion for motorbikes. He had recently retired and bought a caravan.

However he was plagued by health problems. Family members said he was ‘crippled’ with arthritis, which caused him a lot of pain and affected his ability to ride his motorbike. He had recently had a positive cancer screening and was due to undergo an endoscopy to investigate.

Police cordoned off Balloon Street in Hartshill following the discovery of Mr Gallagher’s body.

Mr Gallagher’s cousin Mohammed Doud last saw him on November 29.

Mr Doud said: “He spent the day at our family address. He wasn’t himself, he was very quiet. “Ken was talking about moving closer to us.

On November 30 I sent him a text to remind him about a house viewing. He replied, ‘OK mate’. I text him numerous times on November 31 but he didn’t reply.

He also didn’t show up the next day on December 1.” Another cousin, Debra Dixon, reported Mr Gallagher missing when neither she nor Mr Doud could contact him. She said: “Ken had never made mention of wanting to end his own life.

I knew his arthritis was getting him down, and the fact he lived on his own. I don’t believe the lockdown helped him either.”

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Mr Gallagher’s neighbour, Rebecca Clarke, said he had been acting ‘out of character’ when she last saw him on November 28. She added: “I would described Ken as a loner.

He was a very kind-hearted person. He would do anything for anybody. If he thought he could help, he would do.”

Police circulated photographs of Mr Gallagher and his car after he was reported missing on December 7. The Audi was spotted parked and locked outside a premises in Balloon Street, Hartshill. A witness caught a glimpse of Mr Gallagher in the boot and police were informed.

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They found him lying inside the boot, under a duvet, with a packet of his medication. Test showed he died as a result of Tramadol toxicity. Assistant coroner Sarah Murphy concluded that Mr Gallagher’s death was suicide.

She said: “Mr Gallagher was a worried man facing a deterioration in his health. He was in constant pain and suffering from loneliness exacerbated by the lockdown. “I find that by taking the overdose of Tramadol, Mr Gallagher intended to cause his death.”

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The Samaritans : 116 123. Website: www.samaritans.org . Email: jo@samaritans.org

Offer a 24-hour confidential helpline. You can also contact them by text or email. Men Unite: A local group addressing the rising problem of suicide among men.

If you would like to join the Men Unite Facebook group click here. NHS 111 Service : 111. Website: www.nhs.uk .

Call the NHS 111 service if you urgently require medical help or advice. The service is availabe 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

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HOPELineUK : 0800 068 41 41 A specialist telephone service staffed by trained professionals at PAPYRUS who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information to children, teenagers, young adults aged up to 35 and anyone concerned about a young person. Opening hours are 10am to 10pm, Mondays to Fridays, 2pm to 5pm, weekends and bank holidays.

NSPCC Childline : 0800 1111. Website: www.childline.org.uk Children’s charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness.

SANE : 0845 767 8000. Website: www.sane.org.uk . Email: sanemail@sane.org.uk

Out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. Open every day from 6pm to 11pm. Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline : 0808 800 2234.

Email: staffordshire.helpline@brighter-futures.org.uk.

Text: 07860 022821.

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