Suicide tragedy of ‘absolute star’ dad-of-three who feared dropping custody of youngsters – he informed spouse he had ‘traded my life for yours’

A father of three sent his wife a heartbreaking email titled “Goodbye” before he committed suicide at his Rochdale home.

Steven Walker-Roberts, 30, said he traded my life for yours in the tragic email shortly before he was found dead at his home in Parkgate, Oldham.

He and his wife, Samantha, had agreed to split up a few weeks earlier – a decision Mr Walker-Roberts struggled with.

Rochdale Coroners Court heard the computer engineer experience “long-standing” mental health problems, compounded by the loss of his sister in 2018 and brother in 2019.

He had also recently looked into social services and feared he could lose custody of his three children after a child protection order was issued.

Steven Walker-Roberts

The court heard that Mr Walker-Roberts made an earlier attempt to commit suicide in April 2020 by being hospitalized after a drug overdose.

After a visit to A + E, he was referred to the Pennine Care Home Treatment Team, where he was examined by a psychiatric nurse.

Upon examination, it was found that Mr Walker Roberts’ mental state was improving and he was referred to counseling and psychological therapy.

But on May 1 of last year, Samantha received a series of alarming Facebook messages from Steven, one of which said she would receive an email from him in an hour.

Rochdale Coroners Court heard the computer engineer have “long-standing” problems with his mental health

The email titled “Goodbye” detailed how he had left a large sum of money to his wife in the event of his death to support her and their three children.

He also revealed a series of passwords and PIN numbers so that she could access his personal files after his death.

Shortly after receiving the email, Ms. Walker Roberts informed the court that she had called 999 and told them that she believed Steven would kill himself.

The court heard that the call was initially rated “two” on the priority scale, which Samantha believes could have changed her ex-husband’s chances of being saved.

A report conducted by GMP concluded that the call should have been rated as a “one” priority and that the call operator “lacked empathy” and that Ms. Walker Roberts sounded “impatient” at times.

That delay didn’t affect Steven’s death, decided Julie Robertson, assistant coroner for North Manchester.

Mrs. Walker Roberts first arrived at the property where she tragically saw Steven hanging. She tried to help him, but it was unsuccessful.

Emergency services arrived a short time later and provided CPR, but Mr. Walker Roberts was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene.

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Steven’s family raised concerns about a lack of mental support, saying they did not believe he had been adequately assessed after he was released from the hospital in April.

However, Ms. Robertson concluded that the Pennine Care mental health team performed an “adequate” assessment.

Ms. Walker Roberts told the court that Steven lost one of his sisters to suicide in 2018 and that he had problems after her death.

“He was really struggling with her death – he said it felt like another part of him was lost,” Samantha said.

Steven then lost his brother in 2019, whom his ex-wife said was very influential.

Of his mental health, she said, “He would go to his family doctor, but normally he wouldn’t actually do the treatment.”

“He would try to talk to people in his family instead of going through the NHS.

“I would try to get him to talk to his mother. That would have been his preference to talk to professionals.”

Steven’s family raised concerns about a lack of psychological support

In March 2020, Samantha made the decision to move out of the house as the couple had had problems with their relationship for some time, the court heard.

On April 10, she received a series of alarming text messages from Steven instructing her to go to his house, where she had to break a window to enter the property.

She said she went upstairs and found Steven on the bed with an empty bottle of drink – and an empty packet of pills in the kitchen.

Steven was rushed to the hospital and released the next morning after being seen by the mental health crisis team.

He was then referred to the home care team, the court heard.

Ivan Radnicki, Senior Psychiatrist at Pennine Care, came to Mr. Walker Roberts’ home for a mental health assessment upon his discharge from the hospital.

“He had made many plans to improve his situation in the future,” Radnicki told the court.

“He told me he was going to move in with his cousin that day and that would help how he felt. He thought the room would help his relationship.

“Steven wanted to go back to work and he saw a distraction from his problems and thought it would help.

“He said his mood had improved. He hadn’t voiced thoughts of harming himself. He wanted to be a father.”

Mr Radnicki said he had decided not to make another appointment as Steven said he did not think it was necessary.

Instead, Steven was referred to the Oldham Mind Talking Service and for psychological therapy.

“If Steven had wanted to, I would have seen him again, but he didn’t. I thought he had full capacity to make that decision,” said Radnicki.

When asked by Steven’s family whether he would like to speak to members of his family about his mental health, Mr. Radnicki said he had not done so in this case.

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“I suppose it would have been helpful to speak to the family as well,” he told the court.

“His partner was there, but Steven asked her to leave the room. I think I could have asked her afterwards.”

Mr Radnicki also confirmed that he did not know that Steven had Asperger’s Syndrome, but said that most likely it would not have changed the way he was assessed.

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Steven’s cousin Elizabeth Morris told the court she felt that after the initial home assessment, Steven could have benefited from continued treatment.

“One day he said he was feeling better and the next day he might have problems and the Covid restrictions didn’t help,” she said.

“He knew when he was in crisis and where to get help, but I think his pride had a lot to do with it.

“Steven felt like he had let people down. I think if the treatment had continued he would have persevered face to face.

“Personal support would have been good for him.”

Steven Walker-Roberts

His mother-in-law, Jacqueline Roberts, told the court that she believed that more support from the home care team could have changed his mindset at the time of his death.

Assistant Coroner Julie Robertson took a suicidal conclusion and said, “Steven had a long history of mental health problems.

“It is clear that Steven was suffering from significant stress at the time of his death.

“I think Dr. Radnicki made an appropriate assessment. I think the referral for therapy was appropriate, and I think he made Steven safe by referring him to other services.

“Steven often presented himself as fine and had a history of lack of commitment to mental health services.

“I also think his safety was compromised by making Steven aware of how to refer himself for urgent psychiatric care.”

Ms. Robertson said after reading the email to Ms. Walker Roberts that she believed this was some form of suicide notice.

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She added, “I think when he decided to suspend he knew it would be the end of his life.”

Upon investigation, Steven’s family paid tribute to a “very clever boy” who “looked after him” and “looked after his family”.

He’d been to university three times and graduated from law, computer science and nursing, his family said.

Steven’s mother, Maria Page, said: “He was an absolute star when his brother was sick and was by his bed every day.”

His Aunt Sara added, “Everyone was stressed out and Steven was trying to be there for everyone else. I could never say the wrong thing about Steven.

“He was the greatest nephew. There was no one like him.”

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service that is available every day of the year. If you’d rather write down how you are feeling or worry about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected] and at Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, write, FK8 2SA and visit to find the branch closest to you.

understanding 0300 123 3393 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Visit

RUHE (0800 58 58 58) has a hotline is for men who are downstairs or bumped into a wall for some reason, who need to speak or find information and assistance. They are open 365 days a year from 5 p.m. to midnight.

SANE (0300 304 7000) Emotional support, information and guidance for people with mental illness, their families and carers, daily from 4.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. Visit

Information on your local NHS hotline for urgent mental health can be found here

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