Lucy Bailey woke up to her worst nightmare when she was told her beloved father, Jonathan, was live-streaming his own death on Facebook.
The 23-year-old had been a constant source of support for personal trainer Jonathan as he battled crippling depression and mental health issues.
Tragically, on July 11 this year – and just days after his 50th birthday – Jonathan told his Facebook followers and set up a live-stream with 400 people watching.
Desperate to save him, those who had seen the harrowing post contacted Lucy as well as emergency services.
She said: “I woke up on Saturday to everyone messaging me telling me to look at my dad’s Facebook status. I saw the live feed, but I didn’t click on it.
“I went to his flat, police and paramedics were there, and they wouldn’t let me in. They were in there for about 20 minutes, because they were in there for that long I thought they were just talking to him.
“But then the paramedic came out and told me he wasn’t breathing. I was on my own and he told me to get someone and prepare myself for the worst.”
The mum-of-one has slammed Facebook for leaving the post up for people to see following her father’s tragic death.
Lucy said: “Despite hundreds of protests and complaints, Facebook left that post up all day for anyone to watch. I felt helpless.
“The mental health crisis teams – I phoned and phoned, but nobody would listen. They did nothing. They just passed the responsibility to me, a young single mother at my wits end.”
The social media giant issued a statement after the incident and claimed it sent ‘support documents’ to Mr Bailey after his initial suicidal status was uploaded.
According to Facebook’s Community Standards, the company has been ‘advised by experts’ to not remove live videos of ‘self-injury while there is an opportunity for loved ones and authorities to provide help or resources.
Jonathan, known to his loved ones as Bazza, died just days after being discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt on his 50th birthday.
He had been due to spend his milestone birthday with his beloved daughter but instead Lucy found in unconscious in a field.
Mr Bailey was taken to hospital, where he had his stomach pumped, but was later discharged.
Lucy, from Stoke-on-Trent, told how she spent every waking minute closely watching her charity champion father in the weeks leading up to his death.
The 50-year-old fitness fanatic and personal trainer had touched the lives of many through his work in the community and in the gym.
A friend wrote on Facebook to say he drove to Mr Bailey’s house in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, to try and stop him from taking his own life but when he arrived police had already taken him away.
Lucy, 23, said: “He rowed the English Channel twice to raise money and awareness for mental health issues. He fought in and organised charity boxing matches and was always on the go doing something to help others.
“He dedicated himself to community work helping the homeless, poverty-stricken families and drug addicts. He always had time for people in need.
“He was a close friend of the former World’s Strongest Man, Eddie Hall.
“My dad would do anything for anyone who needed help. It’s just a crying shame nobody was there to help him when he needed it most.”
Mourners lined the streets on the day of his funeral. His coffin was taken to Bradwell Crematorium on the back of truck with the flowers following in a hearse.
Strongman Eddie Hall helped carry the coffin on to the back of the pickup truck and rode his motorbike in the funeral cortege.
Lucy told how her dad had struggled with the lock down and felt caged, unable to train and go to the gym.
She said: “He split up with my mum, Claire, a few years ago. He was isolated during the lockdown and stuck in a flat with nothing to do and no training. Working out and keeping fit was in my dad’s blood. He couldn’t cope without it.
“I could always tell things were not going well with him as he had stopped shaving and grew a beard. He was always so well-groomed and shaved. Bur whenever he grew a beard, I knew he would be having some dark thoughts.
“I had only left him the day before to go home to look after my nine-month-old son, Arnie, when I saw the post on Facebook. I drove straight over to his house after friends messaged about the live broadcast.
“He was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder in October last year.
“He could be really happy at times, but then the lows would be much worse. I could tell he was struggling again as he had started growing his beard.
“The week of his death I had been with my dad every single day as he had been trying to end his life. On the Monday I found him in a field.
“On the Wednesday night he had climbed on to the roof of his home. He eventually came down and I was talking to him.
“He got upset, he gave me a hug and said he didn’t mean to hurt me, and I told him I knew. But as I was hugging him, he tried to jump in front of a car. He was in such a bad place.
“Dad told me that he couldn’t be here anymore, and he needed to go. He was admitted to hospital the following day. I went out for a meal with my friend that evening and I received a text from another friend telling me that dad had gone home.
“I called him and that night he seemed to be more like my dad again. Normally this behaviour will last for a week and then he gets better.”
Lucy says the coronavirus lockdown made her dad’s mental health worse as he was unable to go to the gym and work out as normal.
She added: “Covid-19 made the situation a lot worse for my dad, all the things he would do normally like going to the gym, he wasn’t able to do. Training himself and others was a real lifeline for him.
“I was so proud of all the community work that he did. On Christmas Eve he would go out and give the homeless people sleeping bags.
“I’ve had hundreds of messages from people telling me how much he helped them, even a woman from Australia has got in touch. It’s nice to hear about how he helped so many people, but he didn’t get the help for himself.
“My dad said to me that he could have a thousand people saying something positive about him and the one negative is what he would focus on.”
A spokesman for Facebook said: “Our thoughts go out to Mr Bailey’s family at this difficult time.
“We can confirm that the livestream was deleted very soon after being posted and this further post has also now been removed at the family’s request.
“We take the responsibility of keeping people safe on our platforms seriously, and we will continue to work closely with experts like The Samaritans to ensure our policies continue to support those in need.”
A spokesperson for the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust said: “As one of a number of providers of mental health and substance misuse services and support across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, we are acutely aware of the risks and issues facing us all at this unique time.
“In line with our normal legal responsibilities, we are sure people will understand that we cannot comment on individual cases or specific events until a full investigation has taken place and the full facts established.
“We can confirm that all the necessary processes are now underway and our thoughts and condolences are with the family.
“We are working with our local health and care partners and the local voluntary sector to continually improve our service offer, including ensuring that people are fully aware of and can easily access the range of services available across the county.
“We all have an ethical and moral responsibility to do everything we can to approach this difficult issue responsibly and without causing unnecessary further distress or potential harm to our local communities and vulnerable people.”
Mr Bailey leaves behind his four children Lucy, Dan Bailey, Rio Bailey and Lennon as well as his three grandchildren Arnie, Archie and Maximus – who he sadly never got to meet.
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