An RAF serviceman who was nervous about the birth of his first child with an ex-girlfriend, was found hanged in his barracks, a coroner has heard.
On Boxing day, Luke Neeson was socialising with his colleagues and seemed to be in good spirits while drinking in The Eagle Public House, before tragedy struck.
Friends of the 25-year-old recalled Luke talking about his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Angela Mullan (corr), claiming he was “anxious” about becoming a first time dad, on the night before his death.
Kieran Galt said: “Luke explained he was nervous about having a child with a previous partner who was due to give birth soon but he was looking forward to going back to Ireland because he had a friend’s wedding to attend on December 31.
“Luke spoke about another female he was going away with called Naomi. Throughout the night, he spoke about his future with Naomi and his up and coming weekend with her. He explained they were going to stay in a hotel.”
Luke was last seen heading back to his barracks at RAF Brize Norton, Carterton, Oxon., that evening before he failed to appear for work the next morning – December 27.
Worried friends flagged up a welfare concern after Luke would not open his door or answer his phone and at 10am, RAF duty officer William Henry used a master key to get in.
Paramedics rushed to the young man at 10.19am but on arrival it was clear his life was extinct.
After searching his “incredibly tidy room”, officers found a raw pizza tucked away in his miniature oven.
The Senior Aviation Technician had joined the RAF in 2015, leaving his home in Arran Gardens, Larne, Northern Ireland, to live in the Oxfordshire barracks working for five days in and five days off.
Having travelled from Northern Ireland, his mother Bernadette Mason, alongside her new husband and brother Ben, heard yesterday how Luke was anxious about the birth of his unborn baby, who was later named Kayden.
Having bought a home with his partner Angela in 2018, she became pregnant before they split up. Despite their on-off relationship, the pair had spoken on the night before his death, where she noted Luke had sounded “stressed.”
His mother Bernadette told the assistant coroner for Oxfordshire: “They were very on and off, it just depended on the day of the week.”
The inquest heard how the engineer had a history of anxiety following childhood family trauma.
In a statement, Bernadette said: “Luke had developed some anxiety due to difficulties in family dynamics when he was young, none of that was his fault.
“He grew up as a bit of a worrier, he would get anxious about major and minor issues over the years and he took failure very badly.
“He had bought a house together with his ex-partner in March 2018 and they were expecting their first child together in March 2020. They had ups and downs in their relationship, it was struggling and they were no longer together at the time.
“It was getting harder to pull him back. He sought advice from different people which became confusing for him, so much so that I pulled back.
“He started to go through a phase which I can only describe as ‘gallivanting’ but it seemed to make him more worried and anxious.”
The heartbroken mother explained that Luke was working over the Christmas period so she and her partner were jetting off abroad for Christmas on December 21.
“Before we went away, Luke spent the whole day in bed, he would not talk, eat or drink but the day after he was up before me and seemed much brighter. He took us to the airport and we said our goodbyes.
“I was surprised he had taken his own life, it had been my greatest fear and it was always niggling at me. When he last came home he was finding it hard to cope with his demons. I think he saw himself as the problem but unfortunately I will never have the chance to prove him otherwise.”
Sitting at Oxford Coroner’s Court, assistant coroner Ms Hayes concluded a verdict of suicide.
Appearing over video link, his father Ivan Neeson said: “I was with my son on December 23, he was showing me photographs of the hotel he was going to be staying in, he was looking forward to it.”
The assistant coroner concluded: “It is very hard to lose people in these circumstances, unfortunately in my job I see this all too often, particularly with young men with so much to look forward too.”