Daniel was full of life. As a small boy he was a fun-loving ball of energy with an unstoppable enthusiasm for everything, care-free, loving, aﬀectionate and permanently on the go.
As an adult, Daniel retained his boyish charm. With a ready smile and a wicked sense of humour, he was easy around people and put people at their ease. He was always up for a challenge and his zest for life made being around him a happy, and joyous place to be.
The “sunshine in my life” is how Daniel’s mother Jo describes her son.
He was popular, determined and successful at everything he put his hand to – he was a regional manager for a large UK company and was known as the ‘legend’ by his colleagues.
Daniel loved his family, friends, animals, singing, cars, music and football and especially his two precious step-daughters.
Daniel started gambling on fruit machines three months before his 17th birthday. Within six weeks he’d lost all of his savings and gambling had consumed him.
At that time there was no help for boys like Daniel and so gambling continued to blight his life. When online gambling became available – it made things a great deal worse. Despite a well-paid career, he would periodically lose everything and in the year before his death, he spent just £18 on himself – a pair of shoes from Tesco.
In the latter years, his family tried to help but didn’t really know how.
Daniel was 35 when he took his own life in 2017.
Jo and Peter, Daniel’s step-father, knew immediately that his suicide was gambling-related but the inquest was an entirely unsatisfactory process for the whole family, with a catalogue of failures. There was no investigation of the circumstances leading to his death, the family were not given access to his phones and devices, and the family statement was not read out at the inquest. The coroner made a ruling that his death was suicide but there was no recording of the role of gambling in Daniel’s death.
Based on this experience, Jo and Peter have campaigned for changes to the procedures in the coroners’ courts that would oﬃcially record factors that contributed to suicide, not just the cause of death.
Jo and Peter were one of the founder members of Gambling with Lives and continue to support the work GwL do to reduce gambling-related suicide and help families aﬀected by it.
Since October 2017 Jo and Peter have worked with others who have experienced gambling-related harm to make prevention and early intervention a priority, producing the safer gambling tool Don’t bet YOUR LIFE on it… – a product, strategy and programme of virtual mentoring and self-help tools accessible online 24/7, 365 days a year.