Ipswich: Broken leg may have triggered death of “lovely guy” Neil Hammett
PUBLISHED: 17:43 18 February 2013 | UPDATED: 17:43 18 February 2013
After exchanging cards and gifts with his partner on Valentine’s Day, Neil Hammett fell asleep on the shoulder of the man he planned to marry.
But just two hours later, the popular 28-year-old had died after suffering three devastating seizures.
His family believe Neil developed epilepsy after breaking a leg two years ago and suffering with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which they think caused blood clots that eventually reached his brain.
Paul Sutton, the man Neil was planning to marry, said the couple had spent last Thursday celebrating Valentine’s Day at their Fore Street flat.
Mr Sutton, 45, gave Neil – his partner of three-and-a-half years – a bouquet of roses and received chocolates in return.
But after falling asleep on Mr Sutton’s shoulder, Neil never regained consciousness.
“The emergency services were fantastic,” Mr Sutton said.
“They fought for more than an hour to try to save him but it was too much, his body couldn’t cope.
“I held his hand the whole time, I never left his side.
“He was such a lovely guy, we were planning to get married. We were so happy together.”
Neil was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy early last year, which medics attributed to blood clots on the brain.
The former Suffolk New College drama student had aspirations of becoming a teacher.
But after suffering his broken leg when he fell down stairs, he was besieged by health problems – problems it was thought stem from the DVT.
Mr Sutton added: “Early last year, completely out of the blue he was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“I looked after him. Some days he would suffer four or five fits, other times he would go weeks without having one.
“They were becoming more prevalent though. Before his body was taken from the flat, me and his family all said our goodbyes, each placing a single rose from the bouquet to go with him.”
Paying tribute on behalf of mum Christine Reynolds, the girlfriend of Neil’s brother Glen, Louise Woodward said: “Neil was a treasured son, brother, uncle and nephew and will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him. Neil was a very loving and kind-hearted person, who adored his family especially his young neices and nephew. We are all devastated. He was so loved and will be much missed.”
Mr Sutton added: “Neil was so proud of his seven nieces and he was delighted to have recently been given a nephew.
“And he was so pleased to have just found out his little sister was pregnant. They all meant so much to him.”
His family thanked those who have sent messages of sympathy and support and heaped praised on the ambulance crews who fought to save his life.
Neil is survived by Mr Sutton, his mum Christine, brothers Paul, Glen and Ricky and sisters Claire and Lisa.
It is not yet known when the funeral will take place. The family is waiting for tests to be carried out on behalf of the coroner.