DAD BECAME SHADOW OF SELF, LOS­ING 15ST BE­FORE HE DIED

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - ANNA LEWIS Re­porter anna.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

THE fa­ther of a dad-of-two who died af­ter suf­fer­ing from sus­pected PostTrau­matic Stress Dis­or­der (PTSD) fol­low­ing an at­tack while he was with his chil­dren has re­lived his heart­break.

Ed­ward Hal­lett from Gwaun­miskin, near Pon­typridd, died on Fe­bru­ary 2 at the Royal Glam­or­gan hos­pi­tal in Llantrisant aged 42.

He dropped from 22 stone to less than seven in lit­tle more than 18 months af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Ed­ward’s dad Tony Hal­lett de­scribed his son as a “gen­er­ous” man who would do “any­thing for any­one” – known in the com­mu­nity for his broad smile.

Af­ter play­ing for the Welsh cricket team as a teenager, Mr Hal­lett also played for Pon­typridd Cricket Team and Bed­dau RFC, stopping his cricket ca­reer in 2012 af­ter a se­ries of in­juries in­clud­ing los­ing three of his front teeth.

Mr Hal­lett mar­ried Claire the fol­low­ing year, be­com­ing a de­voted fa­ther to her son Cal­lum as well as his daugh­ters Teulu Mai and Eira Rose.

Tony said: “Peo­ple say how much they miss his great broad grin. In the last months of his life he shied away from it.

“He loved a joke and loved a laugh and would do any­thing for any­one.

“He was a big home boy and wher­ever he was liv­ing he al­ways found a way of com­ing back home to see them.

“He loved his girls and they wor­shipped him. He had in­fi­nite pa­tience with them and would take them any­where.”

How­ever for the family the worry be­gan af­ter Mr Hal­lett became a “shadow of him­self” in 2015 af­ter he was as­saulted fol­low­ing a col­li­sion, be­com­ing ner­vous and re­luc­tant to leave the house.

Over­com­ing a se­ries of in­juries to take on his dream job as a driver and sales­man, Mr Hal­lett was re­turn­ing from walk­ing his dog on Llantrisant Com­mon on Oc­to­ber 13 when he became in­volved in a col­li­sion on a nar­row road.

Af­ter stopping to check on fel­low mo­torist Ja­son Maid­ment, Mr Hal­lett’s fa­ther de­scribed how he was as­saulted from be­hind when paus­ing to com­fort his 18-month daugh­ter.

Mr Hal­lett said: “He was just talk­ing to the baby. While that was hap­pen­ing, he was de­fence­less.”

An in­quest in Aber­dare heard Mr Hal­lett suf­fered from chronic anx­i­ety and sus­pected PTSD in the months fol­low­ing the col­li­sion, in­clud­ing flash­backs to his daugh­ter’s face in the car at the time of the in­ci­dent.

Mr Hal­lett said: “One of the big worries he had in his mind was his baby in a dan­ger­ous place locked in the car. He was very re­luc­tant to leave far from the house and became very in­su­lar. It de­stroyed ev­ery bit of his con­fi­dence. The dam­age was done, af­ter that he went down­hill so fast.

“From then on he was ter­ri­fied and lost a tremen­dous amount of weight. He went to a shadow of him­self.

“It’s very, very tragic for the family and we feel if he went down a dif­fer­ent road, this never would have hap­pened.”

Charged with as­sault oc­ca­sion­ing bod­ily harm and driv­ing with­out a li­cence and in­sur­ance, Maid­ment was sent to pri­son for three years.

How­ever, while his family hoped Mr Hal­lett would have clo­sure af­ter his at­tacker was charged in 2016, he be­gan a new de­ter­mi­na­tion to lose weight.

Haunted by me­mories of be­ing bul­lied for his weight as a child, Mr Hal­lett shed around 15 stone.

De­spite de­scrib­ing him­self as “feel­ing like su­per­man” to health care pro­fes­sion­als in 2016, Mr Hal­lett con­tin­ued to lose weight af­ter ex­er­cis­ing until fall­ing to a dan­ger­ous level.

His fa­ther said: “He looked fab­u­lous this time last year and all of a sud­den he started los­ing more weight. We did recog­nise his eat­ing dis­or­der but it took a lot of ef­fort to get him to the doc­tor.”

Record­ing Mr Hal­lett’s death due to mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure as a re­sult of in­fec­tion, coro­ner An­drew Barkley de­scribed sur­geons as “fight­ing a los­ing bat­tle” to save him as a re­sult of his se­vere un­der­nour­ish­ment.

A memo­rial match was played by Pon­typridd Cricket Club on Au­gust 20, with for­mer play­ers re­turn­ing from as far as London and Southamp­ton.

Ed­ward Hal­lett with wife Claire and daugh­ters Teulu Mai and Eira Rose

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