‘We’ll never truly know’ why ex-Army man from Derbyshire took his own life

A coroner has said ‘we’ll never truly know’ why a much-loved young man who served with the British Army took his own life.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 1:25 pm
Lance Gwilliams inquest took place at Chesterfield coroners court.

Lance Gwilliam, 35, was found hanged at his home on Leek Road, Buxton, on Christmas Day last year.

Mr Gwilliam joined the Army at the age of 16 and served his country for ten years, Chesterfield coroners’ court heard during an inquest on Wednesday.

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His mother Ingrid Gwilliam said: “He saw plenty of the world and had lots of adventures - he had a good time.

“He was highly thought of, very strong, determined and trustworthy.

“He was a very loyal friend to have.”

Mrs Gwilliam said her son left the Army in 2009 when he injured his leg and later became an electrical engineer which saw him working across the world.

In a statement read out to the court, Andrew Cameron, one of Mr Gwilliam’s colleagues, described him as ‘honest, kind and reliable’ and added: “If you’re going to war with anyone, I just hope Lance is on your side.”

Another colleague, Stuart Adams, said Mr Gwilliam went home on leave from work in December last year.

“He left me with no indication he was considering taking his own life,” Mr Adams said.

“I was completely shocked when I found out the news.”

The inquest heard post-mortem tests showed Mr Gwilliam had consumed alcohol and drugs before he sadly hanged himself.

However, Mrs Gwilliam said her son had never spoken to her about suicidal thoughts and she did not expect him to take his own life, adding that he was excited about Christmas Day.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, coroner Matthew Kewley said: “It seems we’ll never truly know what exactly it was that led Lance to take his own life.

“By all accounts he appeared to be his usual, happy self around that time.”

Mr Kewley offered his condolences to Mr Gwilliam’s loved ones and added: “It’s clear to me Lance was a remarkable individual who touched the lives of many people.”

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