Wife's tribute to horse-loving 'true-gentleman' after inquest
- Credit: The Billham Family
The wife of a "true gentleman" who died after falling from a city car park has described his love of horses in a touching tribute.
Christopher Billham died on July 28, 2020, after spending several months fighting complex mental health issues.
An inquest into his death, which lasted eight days, closed this week with a jury concluding that the 54-year-old had taken his own life.
Following the hearing his wife Sasha Billham paid tribute to her husband and "soulmate", describing their shared love of horses and the impact his death has had on their family.
She said: "Chris was a true gentleman. He would go above and beyond to help people.
"Nothing was ever too much trouble for him.
"We met when we were young and he became my soulmate. We shared a love of horses and it took him a long time to find his horse, Troy, which was his pride and joy.
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"Everyone who knows him has been absolutely devastated by the tragedy of his death. His passing has left a big hole in our lives.
"He had struggled with his mental health since March 2020 which was a sudden onset and ultimately led to the events of July 27, when he lost his life."
The eight-day inquest heard how Mr Billham had gone to the top of a Norwich car park, with emergency services spending 17 hours negotiating with him.
However, shortly after midnight on July 28, he fell and died from his injuries.
During the hearing it was revealed that the incident had gone on to influence training given to mental health and emergency workers in an effort to help support those who find themselves in similar situations to Mr Billham.
Mrs Billham, on behalf of her family, added: "We are pleased, and Chris would also be pleased, that the various agencies involved in the incident have learned from the events and reflected on improvements which can hopefully change things for families in the future so they don’t have to go through what we have."
If you need help or support, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline on 0808 196 3494 both 24/7.