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‘Joker’ and proud Derby dad who lit up the room sadly took his own life

today15 September 2022 1

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A Derby mother has paid tribute to her 28-year-old son who tragically took his own life. Alex Southall’s mum, Theresa Southall, 53, said Mr Southall had a heart of gold and was the life and soul of the party, and would want his children to know how proud of them he was.

“He was a good lad. We could never shut him up, he was a handsome man.

“He loved Anna [his ex-partner and mother of two of his children] and all of his kids, and he loved me. Anna is a brilliant mum and my grandkids are bright kids, but they miss their dad.

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“He lit the room up, he was always the joker…He was so proud of all of his kids.”

Derby Coroner’s Court heard how on August 17, 2020, at around 5.30pm, police were asked to attend an incident with East Midlands Ambulance Service. Mr Southall had been found 20 minutes prior to the call to EMAS by his then-girlfriend Leigha Bradshaw and a friend of a flatmate, John Potts, in Miss Bradshaw’s bedroom, in her shared flat.



Alex, with his mother Theresa, and two of his children Demi and Bradon
Alex, with his mother Theresa, and two of his children Demi and Bradon

Anna Dawson, 39, mother of two of his children, Demi, 12, and Bradon, 13, said: “He was a lovely guy, always wore his heart on his sleeve.

“He was a brilliant dad and he always helped out with the kids. He loved his children.

“I can’t believe it ended this way. I just miss him walking through the door and smiling. Everybody loved him. At his funeral, the car park was just full of people.”

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In a statement by Mr Potts to police, he said that he and Mr Southall had been drinking together when Mr Southall gave him a bag of his personal belongings, telling Mr Potts that he was going to kill himself. Mr Potts said that this made him “uneasy” but thought Mr Southall couldn’t possibly be serious.

PC Alexandra Wood, giving evidence, said that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Southall’s death, however, there were some signs in his chat logs that he was struggling.

The court also heard a statement from Miss Bradshaw which was taken by police. Miss Bradshaw had been in a relationship with Mr Southall for between 18 months and two years.

Mr Southall would often stay at Miss Bradshaw’s flat as he didn’t like to be alone. According to Miss Bradshaw, Mr Southall was a depressed person who had struggled with bereavement but had been feeling better in the lead-up to his death.

The pathologist ruled Mr Southall’s medical cause of death was hanging, which was contributed to, but not directly caused by, depression, alcohol and drug use. The death was ruled a suicide by the coroner.

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