Re­spected coun­cil­lor hid de­pres­sion from fam­ily

49-YEAR-OLD TOOK HIS OWN LIFE AF­TER RETURNNG FROM HOL­I­DAY

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By NEAL KEEL­ING neal.keel­ing@men-news.co.uk @neal­keel­ing­men

A HIGHLY-RE­SPECTED coun­cil­lor who hid his de­pres­sion from his fam­ily and friends hanged him­self at his home.

Paul Long­shaw, 49, was trag­i­cally dis­cov­ered in his garage with his favourite mu­sic play­ing on a mo­bile phone, a coroner heard.

He had been on hol­i­day to Cuba just weeks be­fore his death and was ‘full of beans’ af­ter the trip, an in­quest in Bolton was told. But his en­thu­si­asm for his work as a coun­cil­lor in Sal­ford’s Lang­wor­thy ward and ded­i­ca­tion to the city as a hous­ing boss masked his con­di­tion.

The hear­ing was told that Mr Long­shaw left two sui­cide notes to his for­mer wife, Ni­cola, and their daugh­ter, in­di­cat­ing his in­tent.

He was a great fan of in­die mu­sic, es­pe­cially Manch­ester band The Fall, and on a ta­ble next to where he was found, in his garage, was his mo­bile phone play­ing his favourite mu­sic.

He was dis­cov­ered by a pain­ter and dec­o­ra­tor one day in Septem­ber when he no­ticed a garage door at Mr Long­shaw’s home at Sal­ford Quays was partly open and went to check, sus­pect­ing a break-in.

Mr Long­shaw had worked for Sal­ford coun­cil for 25 years, be­com­ing a se­nior hous­ing of­fi­cer and lead­ing the mas­sive re­gen­er­a­tion of the Pendle­ton district.

In a state­ment, his for­mer wife said he en­joyed his job and was com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life for peo­ple in Sal­ford and so turned down posts else­where.

In 2016, he took vol­un­tary re­dun­dancy and be­came a coun­cil­lor, a po­si­tion he thrived in, and was ap­pointed as a cab­i­net mem­ber with re­spon­si­bil­ity for hous­ing and neigh- bour­hoods. His for­mer wife said de­spite their mar­riage end­ing, Mr Long­shaw saw his daugh­ter twice a week and in Au­gust had spent two weeks in Cuba with her.

When he re­turned from the trip he was ‘full of beans,’ she said, and dur­ing the hol­i­day had given his daugh­ter ad­vice about her fu­ture.

In the days lead­ing up to his death, he had tele­phoned both Ni­cola and his daugh­ter to ask if they were okay and the con­ver­sa­tions were ‘nor­mal.’ In 2007, he had been pre­scribed an­tide­pres­sants for two months by his GP in the wake of the break-up of his mar­riage, but none since.

Af­ter his death it emerged from friends that in the pre­ced­ing three months he had be­come more dis­tant.

Peo­ple had tried to speak to him but it had been dif­fi­cult to get things out of him. They had no­ticed a change in mood af­ter his re­turn from Cuba.

Mr Long­shaw had can­celled util­ity ser­vice pay­ments, and his flat at Win­nipeg Quay was neat and tidy which, said As­sis­tant Coroner Ti­mothy Bren­nand, in­di­cated a de­gree of prepa­ra­tion.

Record­ing a con­clu­sion of sui­cide, the coroner said: “This was a par­tic­u­larly tragic, sad case. Paul Long­shaw was a pub­lic ser­vant, a valu­able mem­ber of the lo­cal au­thor­ity with a par­tic­u­lar skill.

“He de­voted his life to us­ing those skills for the com­mu­nity.”

Paul Long­shaw

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