Heartbroken Dan took his own life

Remembered: Cricketer Dan Mothersdale, who hanged himself.
Remembered: Cricketer Dan Mothersdale, who hanged himself.

lovelorn cricketer Dan Mothersdale hanged himself after sending a last text message to his mum telling her not to blame his ex-girlfriend for his death.

Worried family and friends embarked on a late-night search around Bawtry, near Doncaster, after the 21-year-old made it plain he wanted to end his life.

But it was not until the next morning that a dog walker found Dan’s body hanging from a tree in Menagerie Wood, near the grounds of Bawtry Hall.

His death in September last year stunned the town, especially team-mates and officials at Bawtry Cricket Club, where he was a promising player and coached the younger members.

The night before he had been on the phone for a long time to his former girlfriend, Sonja Harrison, then 18, from Blaxton, with whom he had broken up a few months before.

Eventually she told him not to ring her again because it was very late.

Miss Harrison told the inquest they had been in a relationship for two years but “started to drift apart” in April or May last year.

In August she had been to his house and they “agreed it wasn’t working out” and decided to split up.

“Later that day we returned each other’s belongings,” she said.

They spoke on and off about exam results before she went to university but met only once more.

On the evening of September 17, Dan called Miss Harrison. She said he “began to talk strangely and made comments that made me worried” before she told him he shouldn’t call again because it was late.

She contacted her parents and a mutual friend, Christopher Tan, to check on his welfare.

Mr Tan said he made phone contact with Dan who said “he’d had a bit to drink” but was fine.

Dan’s mother, Sue, of South Avenue, Bawtry, was also concerned because of a text she had received from him, saying: “I’m sorry mum, but I can’t do it any more.”

He added: “I’ve messed everything up and can’t live with myself for it. Don’t blame Sonja - it’s not her fault, I caused this. I love you, I don’t tell you that enough.”

Other friends received text messages which were gathered in police evidence.

PC Philip Adkin agreed with the coroner when he said the texts were “expressions of love and affection and apologies for letting them down”.

The officer said there was nothing untoward at the scene of the hanging and no suspicious circumstances.

Dan’s GP surgery said in a statement that there had been no drug, alcohol or psychiatric problems in his past.

Recording a verdict that Dan killed himself, Assistant Doncaster Coroner Mark Beresford said the text messages to family and friends were a clear indication of his intention to end his life.

They could not be construed as a cry for help because there was little prospect of him being foiled in the location where he was found hanged, he said.

Mr Beresford said Dan was “remembered extremely affectionately” by all who knew him. The breakdown of his relationship had affected him.

“One of the most tragic elements of this is that Dan was not a young man without hope for the future.

“He was clearly very popular and much loved, a keen sportsman, and someone with a very bright future ahead of him.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to all members of his family and friends.”

Mrs Mothersdale declined to comment after the inquest.