Weather Icon 8.9°C Overcast
Ex-Police Officer Andrew Summerscales killed himself in Cheetham Park after struggling to cope with deaths of two colleagues
Tuesday 14th February 2017 @ 12:47 by Tom Greggan
Hyde News Stalybridge

An ex-Police Officer ended his own life after suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), following the murders of his colleagues PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, a coroner has ruled.

Andrew Summerscales’ body was found in Cheetham Park in August of last year. Before taking his own life, he had e-mailed a colleague, outlining his intentions. When found, he was already wearing a tag used by police for identifying bodies and the court was told how he filled out his own death report on GMP paperwork.

The inquest, at Stockport Corner’s Court, heard how 46-year-old Andrew had endured many traumas in his life. As a Liverpool fan, he was at Hillsborough for the tragedy in 1989.

In April 2015, he was off-duty, walking through Cheetham Park when he discovered the body of someone who had committed suicide. Over a year later, after leaving GMP, Mr Summerscales returned to the same spot and ended his own life.

The court heard how it was the events of September 2012 that changed Mr Summerscales’ life. He was one of the first officers on the scene in Hattersley, when his two colleagues and good friends were brutally murdered by gangster Dale Cregan, an incident he would never fully recover from.

Stockport Coroners Court how PC Andrew Summerscales was first on the scene in Hattersley, when his two colleagues PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were brutally murdered by Dale Cregan.

Mr Summerscales’ 21-year-old son, Joshua, bravely gave evidence to the court, saying how his father’s life changed after their deaths as he struggled to come to terms with it.

His former partner Carly Weston had a statement read out in court, also saying how things ‘sadly changed’ after the events of September 2012.

His GP, Dr Marie Ellis has prescribed Mr Summerscales with anti-depressants after he spoke to her about suicidal thoughts.

Mr Summerscales was signed off work with PTSD and depression following the tragedy. He was working with GMP psychiatrist Dr Michael Rogerson, who also gave evidence to the inquest.

He told the court how Mr Summerscales had a lot of time to ruminate on events during his twelve months off work, which was ‘unhelpful’.

In her ruling, Coroner Joanne Kearsley said that Mr Summerscales mental health improved after leaving the force but that he suffered a relapse at the time of his death. Addressing Joshua, his son, she added that he should be very proud of his dad.

Mr Summerscales’ 21-year-old son Joshua, pictured here in 2000, bravely gave evidence at the inquest. Coroner Joanne Kearsley told him he should be very proud of his dad.

Following the ruling, Mr Summerscales’ family released the following tribute to their loved one:

“Born 29th June 1970 to Shirley and Stephen, twin brother to Ruth, older brother of Stephen, Andrew grew up in Oldham, a shy, quiet type with a wicked sense of humour, probably inherited from his Grandpa.

“He told his mum he wanted to be a police officer at a young age, but initially chose to pursue other career options.

“He finished school and trained to be a butcher, and later qualified as a meat inspector, working for Beverley’s of Oldham. It was here that he acquired the nickname ‘Brassy’ in tribute to the many hours of overtime he put in to save for the things he wanted to buy.

“His son Joshua, born 20th December 1995, made him very happy. He was very proud of the way Joshua had grown as a person, and was immensely proud that his sensible approach to money and life had rubbed off on him, describing him as a ‘chip off the old block’.

“He had various different driving jobs before finally returning to his boyhood ambition of becoming a police officer, joining GMP in 2000/01 and serving proudly with G Division for 15 years. His mum Shirley proudly remembers the day of his Passing Out Parade, the day she saw him finally recognise his ambition of becoming a police officer.

“A kind and helpful man, who cared immensely about those close to him, nothing was ever too much trouble, and he would go out of his way to help those who needed it.

“He had a passion for Liverpool FC, and for many years he had a season ticket at Anfield, a place where he would often drag Stephen along with him. Stephen fondly remembers the amazing 11th birthday present he received from Andrew, tickets to sit in the Anfield Rd end for Ian Rush’s last game before he went off to Italy.

“Ruth also remembers his passion for Liverpool, and her and her husband Graeme joined him at Anfield for the final game of standing on the Kop. She remembers that they drove around for ages till he found a parking spot which he didn’t have to pay for! He followed his beloved Liverpool up and down the country, many times riding his motorbike to the games, and was present at Hillsborough that fateful day.

“When Ruth was married to Graeme, there was no better choice to give her away on her wedding day than her twin, and Andrew duly obliged, even going as far as wearing a kilt for the occasion.

“His butchery skills came to the forefront one day whilst out for dinner with Ruth and Graeme, and his parents. Graeme’s dad found it amazing just how much meat Andrew got off the bones of the rabbit or pigeon which he had eaten. His love of animals was great too, he would often wake up early on his days off and take his dogs out for the day, often to the beach, which they greatly enjoyed.

He had a passion for walking, and would often go off for a full days walking with his friends, anywhere and everywhere. Andrew was an amazing father, friend, brother and son, and he will be missed by all of us. “You’ll Never Walk Alone””