Drunken abattoir worker, 34, accidentally hanged himself in the mistaken belief his sleeping girlfriend would save him as he tried to get her ‘attention’, inquest hears

  • Stephen Morilly from Knutsford, Cheshire, tried to talk to Adele Fox when drunk
  • She first pretended to sleep, but then dozed off before waking to find him gone
  • Miss Fox went to look for her boyfriend but found him hanged just metres away
  • Coroner said: ‘I cannot be satisfied whether or not he intended to take his life’

Stephen Morilly, 34, from Knutsford, Cheshire, hanged himself after an evening with girlfriend Adele Fox

A drunk abattoir worker accidentally hanged himself in the belief his girlfriend would save him, an inquest has heard.

Stephen Morilly, 34, from Knutsford, Cheshire, had tried to talk to Adele Fox after they spent the evening drinking wine and whiskey together.

She initially pretended to be asleep but dozed off before waking to find Mr Morilly had gone.

Miss Fox went to look for her boyfriend and found him hanged.

Tests showed he would have been almost twice the alcohol limit at the time of his death on August 1.

An inquest heard Mr Morilly had a tempestuous relationship with Miss Fox, who he lived with in a barn in the village of Mobberley.

His mother Rachel told the Macclesfield hearing: ‘He was my first child born on Valentines day and he was much loved and adored by everyone who knew him.

‘But sadly in the last two years, his life had spiralled out of control and he was in a relationship that was toxic and he lost everything including his flat. His partner was being abusive to him.

‘He had previously self harmed as a cry for help and at times Stephen’s mood would be very low – but I was not aware of any suicidal feelings that he had. In fact in the weeks prior to his death his mood appeared to be quite good.

Miss Fox initially pretended to be asleep, but then dozed off before waking to find Mr Morilly (pictured) had gone

‘He came to my house on the Tuesday before his death in a great mood and we had lunch together and talked about a holiday which was coming up and he was asking different things that his little sisters could bring back for him.

‘As regards to the events of August 1 last year we will never know what happened but this was not Stephen.

‘I did have various worries about him but never thought he would take his own life by hanging himself. I think something catastrophic must have happened for him to do that.’

When asked about her sons death, she said: ‘I thought it would be some drink-related incident, never him hanging himself. 

‘He must have intended for some attention from Adele. I can’t blame for things I don’t know, but she wasn’t a nice person to him and he was obsessed with her.

‘I don’t personally think he meant to take his own life. The only [thing] that worries me, the biggest fear is that Adele was present at the time.’

In a statement, Miss Fox said: ‘We had been in a relationship for three years but he would never know when to stop past a certain point and would became aggressive and argumentative. When sober he was the nicest person on earth and I loved him very much.

‘On July 31 at about 7.30pm we went to the shops to buy tea and then returned to the farm sanding a table in the barn.

Coroner Peter Sigee, recorded an open conclusion, saying: ‘I cannot be satisfied whether or not he intended to take his own life’

‘He had drank some whisky and was drinking wine between 11pm and midnight. I became tired but continued sanding a door.

‘I fell asleep on and off, I don’t know when, but he came to ask for a cigarette.

‘I then heard him sanding and he came back out but I was pretending I was asleep.

‘Later I shouted at him but got no response. I could see him through the barn door and walked towards Stephen, but then realised he was hanging.

‘I tried to get him down but couldn’t. It was a big shock. Stephen had seemed fine during the day and I was not expecting this to happen.’

A toxicologist report showed Mr Morilly had a blood alcohol level of 159 micrograms in his system. The blood alcohol limit for driving is 80mg.

Det Sgt Deborah Morgan of Cheshire Police said: ‘Adele recalled he had been fine all day and both had been drinking bitter, wine and whiskey. She told me about an incident a few weeks ago when he had pushed her.

‘At the time [he had] been making threats to kill himself but he ran off after she called the police. Stephen had also been taking Adele’s anti-depressants. We did not identify any suspicious circumstances in relation to the death of Stephen.’

Coroner Peter Sigee, recorded an open conclusion and said: ‘It’s not possible to determine Mr Morilly’s intention at that time and I cannot be satisfied whether or not he intended to take his own life.

‘My condolences to Stephens family, I am very sorry that I met all of you in these circumstances.’

After the inquest his family said: ‘Stephen was an intelligent and unique young man who was loved by all that knew him.’

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