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Homeless man thought to have been sleeping rough at the Trentham Estate was found dead

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

Picture of the Trentham Estate

The Trentham Estate

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A HOMELESS man thought to have been sleeping rough at a Staffordshire tourist attraction was found hanged near a dirt track, an inquest heard.

Craig McKeating, 37, who was seen bedding down in a field at the Trentham Estate prior to his death on June 21, was found by police after a dog walker discovered a suicide note.

An inquest in Hartshill on Monday was told Mr McKeating, a former quarry worker, had left a marker trail using white plastic bags attached to tree branches leading to the spot where he died.

He had previously stayed at the Salvation Army hostel in Stoke but was told to leave after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly and for assaulting a police officer.

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The inquest heard a member of the public had spotted Mr McKeating sleeping rough in early June and later, on June 21, Alexandra Robinson was taking her Staffordshire bull terrier a walk when she came to a path..

"I found a piece of paper, with a twig pushed through each corner," she said in a statement.

She read the note and then followed the markers in the trees before spotting a dirty white towel.

She decided to turn back and went straight to the office of nearby Aerial Extreme, where she showed the note to staff.

Police constable Nigel Marshall said: "I went to investigate and then I saw the person hanging from the tree."

Empty alcohol bottles and remnants of food were found, suggesting Mr McKeating had been staying there for some time.

Police also found personal items, including a bank card, Salvation Army keys and two Travelodge receipts from earlier that month, as well as two police bail notices relating to being drunk and disorderly.

The inquest was told he had struggled to cope with his mother's death some years earlier and had become estranged from the rest of his family. He had also experienced alcohol problems.

In a statement read out at the inquest, his father Benjamin McKeating said he had lost contact two years before his death.

He described his 'complete shock' at finding out how his son had gone downhill.

North Staffordshire assistant coroner Anthony Curzon recorded a verdict of suicide.

A post-mortem examination and tests indicated Mr McKeating had not been drinking before his death.

If you feel you may want to take your own life, or are concerned about someone else, talk to the Samaritans on 08457 909090, Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline on 0808 800 2234 or your GP.

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