Joshua’s wife Talia said in a statement read at his inquest today “I wish I had betrayed him – maybe he would still be with us.”
The 30-year-old father-of-one had not been since December 12, 2020, when he “put on his coat” and kissed son Luke on the forehead before leaving his Hurst Rise home following an argument.
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In her evidence Talia described how the pair were “snapping” at each other that day and argued while struggling with money worries – and receiving bad news that Joshua’s car had broken down.
Reading from her statement Coroner Peter Nieto said: “He put on his coat, kissed Luke (his young son) and walked out of the house.”
In another excerpt Talia said: “When Joshua went missing it was the most horrific experience I’ve ever been through.
"I ate only to survive – it was a living nightmare. Everywhere I went people would ask me if there was any news – know they meant well but it hurt.
"Joshua always told me not to tell anyone about his depression medication – I just really wish now I had betrayed him and maybe he would still be with us.”
The inquest heard how on December 12, 2020, CCTV footage showed Joshua in Matlock and later on in Sainsbury’s buying a bottle of whiskey and some cola.
In a text message sent to Talia later that day Joshua wrote: “It’s better this way, mate. You don’t want to be stuck in a marriage with an idiot that can’t support you.
"I love you to the moon and back.”
The court heard in a statement from John Hawkins – the walker who found Joshua on October 3 last year – that the dad was wearing the same clothes he had been seen in the day he went missing.
At the scene – a remote area of woodland – a bottle of whisky and cola were also present.
A postmortem report found Joshua had been dead for “a long time” and gave suspension by ligature as the cause of death.
Coroner Peter Nieto, giving a conclusion of suicide, said: “Joshua was not found for getting on for a year.”
He added it was likely the young father had died on December 12 or “very shortly afterwards”.
He said: “The context of this is clearly that Joshua received treatment for depression.
"It might be that there were more things worrying him than he told people about – as is often the case particularly with men.”
Joshua’s mother Fiona described her son as “caring and laid back”, saying “people gravitated to him – he was intelligent”.