We finally got the date for Hugh's inquest and on Tuesday morning, we set off for Bradford, Keith and I and met up with Kathy and Claire. James had decided not to attend but some of Hugh's friends were there and two of them were called to give evidence. These were friends who had been with him earlier on the fateful night; one of them had raised the alarm with the police, only to have them burst in on him in his own flat the following morning, having still not been to Hugh's house, announcing that they were looking for Hugh, whereupon, he had to remind them that he was the one who had phoned them the night before, to raise the alarm. Yes, I am still very angry that the police did not act on the phone calls they received that night and also that the IPCC report did not apportion any blame to them.
It was, as expected, a harrowing experience, being at that inquest. We were spared the worst of the details but I still felt as if I were reliving those terrible days fourteen months ago. A police sergeant was the only policeman called to give evidence. He only came on duty the following morning, so had not been involved in the events of the night before and I wondered why none of the night staff had been called. He said that two of his officers had (finally) gone to Hugh's house, decided that, yes indeed, something was wrong, and had rung him to ask if they could break in. Nothing like police programmes on TV, it seems. They then had to wait for a response unit with a battering ram and someone with a headcam so that the entry could be filmed. Heaven help anyone inside a locked house who needs help urgently, there would be no chance for them.
The coroner found that he had taken his own life whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed.
We went out into the cold of Bradford city and the chaos of building works.
One of Hugh's friends told me that he wanted me to know how proud he was to have known Hugh and to have been his friend.