Popular gym owner who livestreamed own death may have been making ‘cry for help’

A popular gym owner livestreamed his own death online, but a coroner isn't convinced he intended to take his own life.

Father-of-four Jonathan Bailey, known as Baz or Bazza, posted a worrying message to Facebook that he was going to commit suicide.

As he began broadcasting his actions live on the site, his horrified friends made a series of 999 calls, Stoke on Trent Live reports.

An inquest heard on Thursday that police had two different addresses for Mr Bailey, who had moved just the week before, and they dispatched patrols to both locations within minutes.

But by the time the 50-year-old was found, he couldn't be revived.

Mr Bailey was pronounced dead at his flat in Larkspur Grove, Hempstalls, Newcastle, on July 11 last year.

The popular gym owner, who was known for his charitable and voluntary work, had struggled with mental health issues since his twenties. He had been diagnosed with an emotionally unstable personality disorder of an impulsive type.

In the week leading up to his death, Mr Bailey's mental state significantly deteriorated. He had cut his wrists and also threatened to jump off a roof.

Friend Craig Spillane, who runs the mental health group Men Unite, said: "He was clearly in a dark place."

He described Mr Bailey as 'an all-round good bloke' and said he had been trying to help him tackle his problems.

Mr Spillane was at home on July 11 when his stepdaughter alerted him to an alarming Facebook post, where Mr Bailey said he was 'going to kill himself'.

"I rang 999. I knew I needed to get straight to his flat," said Mr Spillane in a statement.

"As I was driving, my stepdaughter shouted 'Oh my God, he's doing it live on Facebook'."

Mr Spillane reached the block of flats and managed to get inside the building.

"I ran up and noticed the door was unlocked slightly, but with a chain. I just shoulder-barged the door, breaking the chain."

He found Mr Bailey hanging and tried to get him down. Police officers then arrived and began CPR while paramedics were on their way.

The inquest was told that just the day before, concerned friends had spotted Mr Bailey in the street and had taken him to Harplands Hospital. He had taken diazepam.

Best friend Stefan Hanks said: "He could barely stand. He was shaking and cold."

Harplands staff felt his physical health needed to be sorted before he could receive a mental health assessment, so he was advised to attend A&E.

Two consultant psychiatrists and another mental health expert carried out the assessment several hours later.

Dawn Burston, from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare, said he was deemed to be 'high risk', although he said he had no suicidal thoughts.

"The team advised that he would benefit from an admission to Harplands Hospital to support him through this crisis period," she told the inquest. "Mr Bailey, however, declined that admission."

The doctors tried three times to persuade him to change his mind.

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At the inquest, family and friends questioned why medics hadn't sectioned him under the Mental Health Act.

Ms Burston, who investigated the case following the death, said they didn't have powers to detain him as he was deemed to have the capacity to make his own decisions.

Mr Hanks and another friend took him home that evening and he seemed to be a bit better.

Andrew Franks, Mr Bailey's uncle, said he did not believe his nephew intended to kill himself.

"He'd had many cries for help over months and people would go to his aid. He knew people would go to his help," he added.

North Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Barkley said he was not satisfied that Mr Bailey intended to take his own life, despite being in a 'downward spiral'.

He recorded a narrative conclusion, adding: "He died from the effects of self-suspension in circumstances in which his intention was unclear."

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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