Respected councillor hid depression from family
49-YEAR-OLD TOOK HIS OWN LIFE AFTER RETURNNG FROM HOLIDAY
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.”