Man found dead by friends in area already searched by police

A man who went missing after a night out with friends was discovered by friends in an area of dense woodland which had already been searched by police.

Relatives of Andrew Wilcox had contacted police after receiving a text message from him after he failed to return home the following day.

In it, the 32-year-old had told his partner how much he loved her and the children their shared.

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An inquest into the death of Mr Wilcox held at Swansea ‘s Guildhall heard how he enjoyed his job as a lorry driver and spent all his time with his family, which included partner Joanna and their two children, and her two children from a previous relationship.

The couple had attended a children’s birthday party at the Bridgend Inn in Birchgrove on Saturday, July 3 last year, after which they returned to their home on Trallwn Road in Llansamlet.

Giving evidence, PC Andrea Morgan told the hearing Mr Wilcox and Joanna had a confrontation when back home as he wanted to go back out that evening to watch some football.

He left the home and went to meet a friend in the Coracle pub in Penlan before they went to Maggie’s in Brynhyfryd where he met two other friends.

They remained there for the rest of the evening before Mr Wilcox gave two friends a lift home to Fforestfach at closing time, before going back to an address with a woman he had struck up conversation with that evening.

The following morning, Sunday, July 4, he received a text from his partner saying she had been aware of the events of the night before.

He replied with a heartfelt apology before signing off the message saying how much he loved their children.

Why we cover inquests – and why it’s so important that we do

As painful as these proceedings are for those who have lost a loved one the lessons that can be learned from inquests can go a long way to saving others’ lives.

The press has a legal right to attend inquests and has a responsibility to report on them as part of their duty to uphold the principle of open justice.

It’s a journalist’s duty to make sure the public understands the reasons why someone has died and to make sure their deaths are not kept secret. An inquest report can also clear up any rumours or suspicion surrounding a person’s death.

But, most importantly of all, an inquest report can draw attention to circumstances which may stop further deaths from happening.

Should journalists shy away from attending inquests then an entire arm of the judicial system is not held to account.

Inquests can often prompt a wider discussion on serious issues, the most recent of these being mental health and suicide.

Editors actively ask and encourage reporters to speak to the family and friends of a person who is the subject of an inquest. Their contributions help us create a clearer picture of the person who died and also provides the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.

Often families do not wish to speak to the press and of course that decision has to be respected. However, as has been seen by many powerful media campaigns, the input of a person’s family and friends can make all the difference in helping to save others.

Without the attendance of the press at inquests questions will remain unanswered and lives will be lost.

The message prompted concern and a friend located the Nissan Micra he had driven the night before, containing some personal effects, on Clarion Close in Llansamlet. Police were contacted and a search, which included police dogs and use of a drone, was launched in the area surrounding where the vehicle had been found.

Despite extensive examination of the surrounding dense woodland, it was not until the following day that friends discovered Mr Wilcox’s body, approximately 50 metres away from the vehicle. A shopping bag containing his mobile phone, which was switched off, was also discovered.

A post mortem concluded his death was consistent with hanging. A toxicology report also discovered evidence of amphetamine and cocaine in his blood. PC Morgan said there was no evidence of third party involvement.

Assistant coroner Edward Ramsay concluded that having consumed alcohol and other drugs, “it may have effected his mental state” and added: “It is obvious in my opinion from the circumstantial evidence that for whatever reason Andrew tragically decided to [undertake] a deliberate act, in an area away from obvious view.

“On July 4, 2021 the defendant failed to return home from the previous evening. He last message had expressed regret and love. My legal conclusion is Andrew’s death was suicide on the balance of probabilities.

“My sincere sympathies and condolences to the family for what is an utter tragedy. You have sat through proceedings with a huge amount of dignity and I am terribly sorry for your loss”.

For confidential support the Samaritans can be contacted for free around the clock 365 days a year on 116 123.

WalesOnline – Swansea