Sawtry family’s tribute to “kind and loving” father, 25, who killed himself

THE family of a young father who took his own life just months before his child was born has spoken of their loss.

Ashley John Joyce, 25, was found hanging from a hallway arch of his home in Greenway, Sawtry, by his uncle Stuart Covell on June 27.

A coroner recorded that Mr Joyce, whose partner Danielle Turner had been expecting their baby, had been drinking and had taken his life by hanging.

His father Richard Joyce said Ashley was “a lovely, sensitive, kind and generous person” who had “his good days and bad days”.

He added: “He was always willing to help. He really enjoyed his work. He was going to be site foreman. He touched everyone he worked with.

“He was going to move in with his current girlfriend, who was expecting his baby and he was looking forward to spending time with them both.

“I don’t want Ashley to come across as a lay-about. He knew right from wrong. He was a genuinely lovely son.”

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Around 20 family members and friends attended the inquest in Huntingdon last week. They heard Mr Joyce had been drinking on the day of his death, accompanied by Miss Turner and friends at St Judith’s Fields.

The couple had argued on their way home and Mr Joyce had pushed his girlfriend out of the flat.

Miss Turner said Mr Joyce was a loving, kind and caring boyfriend but would become aggressive when he had been drinking. She added he was concerned about money and struggled to get access to his five-year-old son from a former relationship.

Miss Turner, whose baby was born a few weeks ago, said: “He was shouting at my friend who came to pick me up. He didn’t have a phone on him so I decided to go back to the flat at 11pm. He was still really aggressive and didn’t want me there.

“He was shouting about how he didn’t care and he didn’t want me to be around.”

Mr Joyce had a history of depression. In 2006 and 2008, he was treated at A&E after taking an overdose of alcohol and paracetamol.

His mother Irene Todwell contacted Mr Covell when her son failed to turn up for work the next day.

Mr Covell said: “I got a phonecall from Ashley’s mother. She said she was worried about Ashley and asked me to go round there to check if he was okay.

“I went to knock on the door. Irene stayed in the car. I decided to climb through the bedroom window next to the front door. I immediately saw Ashley’s body hanging in the hallway.”

Ashley’s former partner Sadie Kemp, the mother of his son, also described him as a “loving dad”.

South and West Cambridgeshire coroner Belinda Cheney said: “Ashley was fun, outgoing and tremendously well-liked. He loved both his mother and father. He was a loved man. The two women in his life speak of him in warm terms. He was interested in Kenzie and looking forward to the birth of his baby, but under the surface he was struggling with quite a number of stresses.

“It is such a sad, sad event seeing such a loved and loving young man make a decision of this nature when he had been drinking.”