A YOUNG man whose body was tragically found at the site of Fiddlers Ferry, was described by his family as ‘funny’ and ‘well loved’, a coroner’s court heard.

The inquest into the death of Adam Smith, from Great Sankey, began at Cheshire Coroners Court on Tuesday (April 9).

A doting dad-of-two, Adam, 30, was sadly found dead at the site of the disused power station following a missing person search led by emergency services for more than two weeks, back on February 12, 2022.

The coroner’s court, on Museum Street in Warrington, heard details in the opening day of the inquest about his ongoing battle with mental health, having been diagnosed with a ‘borderline personality disorder’ which he was being prescribed medication for.

Opening the inquest, assistant coroner Charlotte Keithley, said: “Adam was a young man who had a history of mental health problems and substance misuse.”

She noted two occasions where Adam was detained under the mental health act for incidents involving driving under the influence and an attempt at taking his own life, leading up to his death.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Adam SmithAdam Smith (Image: Supplied)
Dr Simona Aioanei, of Bluebell Lane GP practice in Huyton, was the first to give evidence during the inquest and detailed how when Adam was moved to the practice during July 2021, he was prescribed with an anti-psychotic medication to help deal with his personality disorder diagnosis.

The GP stated that Adam had told her he was ‘self-medicating’ and purchasing medicinal drugs including diazepam (an anxiety medication) ‘on the streets’.

The 30-year-old confided in his GP about his struggles with battling extreme paranoia, believing that his partner at the time was ‘constantly cheating on him’.

Adam, who had links to St Helens, was referred by the GP to a substance abuse service and a meeting determined that he needed a ‘period of sobriety from illicit substances’.

On September 14, 2021, it was heard that Adam was admitted to Warrington Hospital following an overdose of diazepam and had spoken to a crisis help line reporting suicidal thoughts, a low mood and paranoid ideas - he was discharged shortly after.

Fast forwarding a few months, a serious incident was disclosed to the court about a time when Adam attempted to take his own life on November 23, at his family home where he lived with his mum, Joanne Shillcock, and stepdad, Colin.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Adam SmithAdam Smith (Image: Supplied)
Speaking on the incident while giving evidence to the court, Joanne said: “He had not been feeling great and he had gone to bed. We woke to people talking and the police were on the landing outside our bedroom door.

“We ran downstairs, and Adam was with the paramedics and there was blood everywhere.”

The dad-of-two had to have surgery following the incident and claimed the reason for it was he was ‘so fed up with his thoughts’. Joanne added: “He said he needed to get help.”

Adam was detained under the mental health act and then discharged on December 16 of that year.

A meeting held with Adam’s mum and stepdad and various medical professionals following the discharge was to draw up a plan to assist with his mental health issues.

However, Adam’s mum told the court that her and her family had expressed their discontentment with the plan which ‘had not worked times before so why would it work now’.

Runcorn and Widnes World: The inquest resumed at Cheshire Coroner's Court on Museum Street, WarringtonThe inquest resumed at Cheshire Coroner's Court on Museum Street, Warrington (Image: Warrington Guardian)
Addressing his relationship with drugs, Joanne went on to tell the coroner that her son first tried cannabis when he was aged 15. However, the turning point was when he began taking tablets to ‘self-medicate’.

“October 2021 was the first time he took tablets and then he gradually deteriorated,” she said.

A mental health team were referred to Adam following the incident where he had attempted to take his own life ,and on two separate occasions the team attempted to visit him for a meeting at his family home, but he missed them by minutes on both occasions it was said.

The month before Adam’s death, in January, 2022, Joanne said she noticed he had begun to ‘decline’.

“He was coming out with statements that were not right, about being watched and that the government was after him.”

Due to his mum recovering from chemotherapy at the time, Adam went to stay at his grandad’s for a short period, however whilst there, he was involved in a police incident which saw him arrested and charged for driving under the influence after stealing his grandad’s car and driving off.

Police eventually traced Adam and he was detained again under the mental health act at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, where police officer David Alty waited more than eight hours for him to be assessed by a mental health professional.

He was eventually assessed by mental health practitioner, Louise Brannon, who told the court how Adam had told her he could see the number six on the ceiling and that ‘the devil spoke to him, and he could hear him sometimes’.

Despite Ms Brannon raising concerns about his safety during her assessment of him, the police discharged Adam and he was dropped back at home at 3am the following morning.

One final meeting was arranged for a member of a mental health team to come out and see Adam, upon the request of his parents, in an attempt to get him some help.

“The mental health team said they would come out at 2.15pm. We managed to get Adam to stay in the house until that time, he was very agitated at the time,” Joanne explained.

However no one turned up to the appointment, she told the coroner, and when his stepdad called to enquire why, he was told the appointment had been cancelled due to Adam not engaging with help previously.

Joanne described ‘begging’ down the phone for someone to come and help him, being ‘desperate’ for help, however the request was denied.

“Then he left the house and that was the last time we had seen him alive,” She added.

“I thought he might have gone to cool his head and that he would come back, but he did not come back.”

A two-week long search for Adam, in which sightings included him being spotted on a horse on a farm in Warrington having dumped his jacket and belongings nearby, ended with his body being found by the Fiddlers Ferry power station.

Assistant coroner Charlotte Keithley asked Mrs Shillcock to describe her son’s character, to which she responded: “He was funny, lovely, well loved. He had a big circle of friends. He was a big strong strapping lad. He loved his kids. He was misunderstood.”

The inquest is ongoing and is expected to conclude on Friday.