Family want to clear name of much-loved Chesterfield carer who took his own life because he 'couldn't live with himself'

A 26-year-old carer took his own life because he 'couldn't live with himself' after stealing a bank card from an elderly man he was looking after.

The act was 'completely out of character' for much-loved Ben Roddis, who was found hanging in woodland by a dog walker in August 2018.

'If only Ben had spoken up, he'd have known that all was forgiven.'

'If only Ben had spoken up, he'd have known that all was forgiven.'

An inquest into his death held at Chesterfield Coroner's Court today (Wednesday, June 12) heard that Ben had become 'frightened' and 'withdrawn' when he found out police were investigating the theft of a bank card from an elderly man in his care.

After a meeting was scheduled between staff to discuss the issue, it is believed Ben initially attempted to take his own life by overdose after his auntie Jillian McManus found him 'fitting in bed'.

When this failed he drove out to woodland off Westwood Lane and hanged himself, leaving a note on his phone in which he said he 'couldn't live with himself'.

The court heard that Ben, of St Johns Road in Staveley, was already a troubled young man who had attempted suicide on several occasions due to sporadic bouts of depression.

Though his family were very supportive when he came out as gay at age 14, he was badly bullied at school for his sexuality, which is thought to have contributed to his mental health issues.

He developed a drinking problem in his early 20s and had a period of unemployment as he grappled with low mood and motivation.

But Ben had been happy when he got a job at St Michael's care home in Brimington as well caring for others in the community. On his good days, he was described by his manager as a 'model employee' who residents 'would always ask for'.

Mum Julie Roddis said: "If only Ben had spoken up he'd have known that all was forgiven. His family and colleagues would have pulled together to sort the issue.

"But he was so ashamed by what he'd done that he couldn't see any other way out. Everyone at the care home was heartbroken and did a balloon release in Ben's memory.

"He was close to the man who owned the bank card. We offered him money to make up for what happened, but he told us to put it towards Ben's funeral.

More than 200 people were there."

Auntie Jillian McMcanus, who Ben had been living with for seven years, said: "If you know Ben, you'll know this is not who he was.

"He would have done anything for anyone. And more than that, he was the life and soul of the party. He made the night. But a lot of that was a cover up for how he was really feeling.

"We hope that Ben's story saves lives. If just one person reads this and thinks twice, that would be amazing. People need to speak out."

Assistant coroner Sarah Huntbach concluded that Ben had died by suicide by hanging and that depression was a contributing factor in his death.

Ben also leaves behind a baby daughter along with his brother, two sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews.

If you're feeling like you want to die, it's important to tell someone.

Help and support is available right now. You don't have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

The Samaritans: Call 116 123 for free at any time or email jo@samaritans.org

A list of contacts for LGBTQ people: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/lgbtq-mental-health/useful-contacts

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