Mother’s anguish over her tragic son

Paul Gale's mother Moyra and brother Andy''w122214a
Paul Gale's mother Moyra and brother Andy''w122214a

A distraught mum has told of how she hoped her caretaker son is now at peace after he killed himself at the school where he worked.

Paul Anthony Gale was found at Airy Hill School in February and since then the family he left behind have been struggling to come to terms with his tragic death.

But an inquest this week was told of problems that had been playing on Paul’s mind prior to his death and how his epilepsy since he was a teenager had finally dragged him down.

His mum Moira and younger brother Andrew, who lived with him at Spital Bridge in Whitby, were reduced to tears at the hearing in Scarborough on Tuesday when they were presented with a suicide note which they hadn’t seen before and didn’t even know existed.

After the inquest the pair spoke to the Whitby Gazette and told how, despite support from Airy Hill School they had had to contend with hurtful comments about the circumstances surrounding Paul’s death after he hung himself in the school hall.

Moira said: “I feel a sort of closure of sorts. we had no idea Paul had left a note or a letter. At the time I didn’t have my glasses and was full of tears so couldn’t even see it but he told us what we already know - he was tired.

“I will never really know why. As a mum I have always prided myself on being able to talk the kids about anything but it must have been such a hurt to him that he could not say.

“After his death we were offered counselling but the people that have helped us are the cleaners, the dinner ladies and the headteacher and all the people that have come to the door, they have been wonderful.”

Moira and Andrew hope that pupils at Airy Hill and the wider community will remember Paul for doing a job he loved.

He was the oldest of four brothers and a younger sister and was “doted” upon by his extended family of neices and nephews and was learning to drive and taking his theory test again.

Andrew said his brother had been a ‘Jack the Lad’ in his younger years and enjoyed working in various locations around Europe.

Moira added: “The legacy he has left as those bairns are growing up is that they were in safe hands with our Paul at school and that is a fantastic thing for him to have left. He was proud of the work he had done at school.”

The hearing heard that Paul, originally from West Yorkshire, started his working life as a bricklayer and builder but developed epilespy when he was 18 and had to stop doing the job he loved because of the risk involved, especially working at height.

Brother Andrew told the inquest this affected him deeply as he had to stop driving and also take long term medication, the side effects of which caused him to be tired and fatigued easily. Paul had also been deeply upset by the death of a close uncle in December last year.

Andrew told the hearing: “It destroyed his life, he lost his profession, had to surrender his driving licence and lost his footing in life. It became too much and he tried once taking his own life around that time.

“It was a cry for help. He was admitted to a hospital and re-introduced himself back into society. With family and friends he picked himself back up and carried along.

“He had worked at the school for about six years and loved it very much. He never missed a heartbeat, always on time, got on well with the teachers and children and loved the job deeply.”

The inquest also heard on the morning of Monday 11 February staff couldn’t get into the main building which was unusual but obtained keys and saw Paul’s keys next to the door and his jacket on the back of a chair before discovering his body.

Coroner, Michael Oakley said the cause of death was hanging and ruled he had killed himself because he was down at the time of his death and because of the contents of the note.