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Popular BMX rider who died 'struggled for years' after girlfriend's death, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 19:56 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:12 26 October 2019

Grant Mowles with his former girlfriend Weronika Stepien, who suddenly died in 2015 at the age of 17. Picture: SALLY MAYHEW

Grant Mowles with his former girlfriend Weronika Stepien, who suddenly died in 2015 at the age of 17. Picture: SALLY MAYHEW

Archant

A popular BMX rider who died suddenly at his home in Ipswich had struggled for years after the death of his girlfriend in 2015, an inquest has heard.

Tributes have poured in for Grant Mowles, a popular BMX rider from Ipswich who died suddenly on July 19. Picture: SALLY MAYHEWTributes have poured in for Grant Mowles, a popular BMX rider from Ipswich who died suddenly on July 19. Picture: SALLY MAYHEW

Grant Mowles was found dead by a close friend at his home on July 19, just a week before his 27th birthday.

An inquest into his death, which took place at Suffolk Coroner's Court, heard how Mr Mowles suffered with depression and low mood following the loss of his girlfriend, Weronika Stepien.

During the hearing, family members were told that there was nothing they could have done to prevent Mr Mowles' death.

The court heard how the 26-year-old had "struggled for years", especially around the anniversary of her death.

Grant Mowles (centre) with his two brothers Nathan Mowles and Jordan Mayhew. Picture: SALLY MAYHEWGrant Mowles (centre) with his two brothers Nathan Mowles and Jordan Mayhew. Picture: SALLY MAYHEW

Ms Stepien was found in the River Orwell on December 20, 2016 aged 17.

An inquest into her death recorded an open conclusion, as the court could not be sure she had intended her death.

In a statement read to the court Mr Mowles' mother, Sally Mayhew described her son as "kind and cheeky".

"Grant loved to ride his BMX and he was extremely good at it," she said. He would do anything to help others and he wore his heart on his sleeve.

Weronika Stepien, 17, died in December 2016. Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILYWeronika Stepien, 17, died in December 2016. Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

"He had come to see me a few times during the week which was unusual, but we had asked him to come and see us more. He told me how he was planning to save up and go and visit different skate parks across the world."

Senior coroner Nigel Parsley read Mr Mowles' GP records to the court stating that he had sought help from medical professionals on several occasions.

Mr Mowles had told doctors multiple times how he had received good support from family and friends who called and visited him daily to check up on him.

Doctors said that the 26-year-old was positive and that he wanted to improve when he attended appointments.

An image of Grant Mowles, who died suddenly in July, was painted on a half pipe at Ipswich skate park with the words 'ride in peace' next to it. Picture: ARCHANTAn image of Grant Mowles, who died suddenly in July, was painted on a half pipe at Ipswich skate park with the words 'ride in peace' next to it. Picture: ARCHANT

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Mr Parsley said that the death "must have come as a surprise" to friends and families because Mr Mowles was planning for the future.

Mr Mowles' medical cause of death was listed as hanging, with Mr Parsley recording a conclusion of suicide.

Following Mr Mowles' death more than 100 people gathered at Stoke Bridge Skate Park for a memorial, writing messages on a canvas and lighting candles which spelled out his name.

A school picture of Grant Mowles (left) next to his sister Natasha Mayhew (middle) and his brother Jordan Mayhew (right). Picture: SALLY MAYHEWA school picture of Grant Mowles (left) next to his sister Natasha Mayhew (middle) and his brother Jordan Mayhew (right). Picture: SALLY MAYHEW

Stories were also shared about the 26-year-old, who was known for his BMX skills and love of chocolate milkshakes.

Shortly after his death, best friend Jamie Friend - known to those close to him as "Jimbles" - said: "Grant was very funny.

"He was the sort of person that despite his own demons, would always help those of us that needed it.

"He was loved by so many people because he loved so many.

A sketch of Grant Mowles by his friend Rhys Wilson. Picture: @suffolkart_galleryA sketch of Grant Mowles by his friend Rhys Wilson. Picture: @suffolkart_gallery

"He had a hard life, but over the years he grew into a man I was proud to call brother."

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