A desperate father doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire after being hounded by loan sharks over £1,600 of unpaid debt, an inquest heard.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
Antony Jackson Breeze’s phone was “ringing day and night” with calls from debt collectors and pawnbroker in the weeks before his death.
In August last year, the 36-year-old told his girlfriend Amanda Lowe he was going out to buy petrol for the lawnmower.
Soon after, the dad-of-one walked to a secluded wood, near to the family’s home in Bolton, and set fire on himself.
He told a horrified onlooker who tried to put out the flames that he was in debt and had “had enough”.
Mr Breeze was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital suffering from 73 per cent burns but died the next day.
Bolton coroner's court heard Mr Breeze, who worked for engineering firm Webster Drivers, had been to see a counsellor over his £1,600 debt and lost a stone in weight in the weeks before his death.
But deputy coroner Alan Walsh declared an open verdict, saying he could not see how this would drive him to take his own life.
Mr Breeze and Ms Lowe, his partner of nine years, had been planning to get married.
The couple had a five-year-old daughter, Amy, and had hoped to have another child, the inquest heard.
The couple, of Watts Street in Horwich, Bolton, had a supportive family and Ms Lowe's father bought the family a Ford Fiesta when they couldn't afford a car.
Mr Walsh said: "He was anxious to provide for his partner and his daughter, and he was a good man who provided for them.
“He was a man who had everything to live for and he was always looking forward to the future as a family unit.
"Money is a natural concern of any family man and father at some point.
“His debts were not at a very high level, therefore I cannot understand why his debts would lead him to harm himself."
On the morning of his death, Mr Breeze had been playing with his daughter before setting out to buy an electricity top-up card.
He later told his family he was heading to the supermarket, before buying £3 of petrol in a can from a local garage and walking to a secluded wood.
Mr Breeze acknowledged two garage workers in an alleyway as he walked past – he reappeared moments later screaming with his body ablaze.
One of the workers, Paul Tunnah, told the court: “The fire was high and vibrant. He was conscious throughout. I was trying to talk to him all the time."
Mr Tunnah told investigators last year that Mr Breeze said he was in debt and had 'had enough'.
Firefighters praised Mr Tunnah for his 'heroic actions' in taking off his shirt to put out the fire - sustaining severe burns himself.
Speaking after the inquest, a spokesman for Mr Breeze’s family said: "We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic and untimely death of Antony.
"He was a warm, friendly, caring and patient man who loved his family very much.
"The lives of those people who loved him will never ever be the same again. He is deeply missed and long-remembered by everyone."