TOWIE star Kirk Norcross found his father Mick hanged in the wine cellar of his Essex mansion after smashing his way in with a hammer having predicted his suicide days earlier because of money worries and the stress of lockdown, an inquest heard today.
Mr Norcross, who had been the beloved owner of the Essex nightclub Sugar Hut, was found dead on his ‘sprawling estate’ in Bulphan on January 21 this year, aged 57.
His death led to an outpouring of grief from his family, friends and fellow TOWIE stars who revealed he had been depressed during the pandemic and was forced to take a £3.6million bank loan and a bridging loan against his luxury home after various property developments were delayed by lockdown.
Before his death Mick had sold his Aston Martin, Range Rover and a van, and cashed in his private pension, his girlfriend Samantha Keahey told coroner Lincoln Brookes today, adding: ‘He believed he was being conspired against’.
CCTV from the day of his death showed a worried Kirk Norcross arriving at his father’s house at around 3pm – an hour after Mick was last seen – first using a ladder to look into a bedroom before ‘running’ to grab a hammer and smash his way into the converted pool house through several windows.
After Mr Norcross was found and paramedics arrived, CPR was started and continued for some time at the scene ‘to no avail’, police called to the scene told this afternoon’s hearing.
Kirk told the coroner at the Chelmsford inquest today that he had prayed for his father and even bought him some lottery scratchcards to give him ‘hope’ he could beat financial problems and retire. His son also revealed in a statement that Mick ‘changed’ during the first Covid-19 lockdown, saying: ‘He seemed down and depressed and seemed to have black cloud over his head’.
Kirk even predicted to a friend that his father might end his life and said: ‘I might lose my dad this week’, having heard him tell Ms Keahey: ‘I don’t think I am going to get through this Sam’. And hours before his death, Mick tweeted: ‘At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough’.
TOWIE’s Mick Norcross was seen beaming next to his son Kirk in his final picture, taken three weeks before he was been found dead aged 57. Kirk found his father, today’s inquest heard, where he described his father’s mental health problems during lockdown
The mansion home of Mick Norcross where he was found dead in January. His son smashed his way in with a hammer after failing to get hold of him
Heartbreaking: Mick is pictured with his girlfriend Samantha Keahey. Mick apparently told her: ‘I don’t think I am going to get through this Sam’ as he worried about loans and debts
Tragic: Mick haunting last tweet, read: ‘At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough.’
Kick said in a statement: ‘I went to see a friend and I told him I have a feeling I might lose my dad this week. I don’t know why I told him I just felt it in my head.
Mick and Kirk both starred in Towie but both later quit to concentrate on their businesses
‘I bought two scratch cards on the way back for my father with hope. I went and prayed for my father. I then had a nap and woke up and I had two missed calls from dad’s partner and text asking where Mick was’.
After forcing his way into the property Kirk found his father dead shortly afterwards.
Describing his father’s state of mind Kirk said: ‘I noticed my dad’s behaviour around me began to change.
‘During first lockdown in March 2020 I noticed my dad change. He always used to be early riser, drink tea in morning and watch the news and have shower. He would always be around family, we were always close. He had positive mindset.
‘He began having lie-ins, sleeping until 9am and he seemed down and depressed and seemed to have black cloud over his head.
‘It was the time my father should have been retiring. He would never discuss feelings but we were very close and always knew when we were down.
‘Moments when he was himself were short lived. He has been this way since lockdown.’
The developer feared losing his house and told Kirk: ‘This money is not worth the agg, I’m better offing myself’ – offing being slang for suicide.
Kirk said in his statement: ‘I never took this seriously and thought he was joking or it was a figure of speech. I never thought he would do anything. I thought it was a way of expressing himself, I wouldn’t describe it as cry for help.
‘I never thought he would not profit from the developments. I knew it was bothering my father but I always thought he would still profit from the works but when the work was over then he would be back to his normal self’.
In a statement read aloud by the coroner, Mr Norcross’ partner Sam said Mick had severe money problems and was losing sleep over providing for his family.
He had one bank loan of £1.36million and bridging loan secured against his Essex mansion and another £1million needed to finish a development, believed to be a luxury property near his home.
His partner Sam told the inquest: ‘Due to all these projects being overrun during the course in 2020, he sold three of his cars.
‘I was also aware he cashed his private pension in early and he may have been running out of money with the funds to keep himself afloat due to large monthly outgoing.
‘It was this time in October 2020 that I noticed a change in Mick. He believed he was being conspired against. We shared everything with one another, we had endless convos and I know this was heavily burdening on his mind. I knew he was losing sleep as he told me that’.
Starring role: The Sugar Hut owner and reality star, who rose to fame as the man behind the nightclub on the hit ITV2 series, was discovered at his home in Bulphan, Essex
Mick was building five luxury houses in Bulphan, called the Bonham Grange Estate (pictured), close to his home. But it is said to have had drainage problems and Mick was looking at making £1.5million less than expected, an insider told MailOnline earlier this year
Flowers were left at the Sugar Hut nightclub in Brentwood, Essex, after the death of businessman Mick Norcross, who owned it until 2019
On the eve of his death Sam said Mick had told her: ‘I’m just fed up I can’t do it anymore life isn’t meant to be like this. All I wanted was to make my family proud and be happy’, according to her statement.
She said: ‘When we finished we went into the house and Mick came out at the end and said: ‘Oh I don’t know how I’m going to get through this’. She added: ‘I tried reassuring him and explained I would do the fighting for him so Mick didn’t had to. I said everyone cares about him and is worried about him but he said you don’t understand everyone’s life is dependent on me and I need to look after everyone’.
Inspector Neil Armstrong from Essex Police described CCTV from the mansion showed Mick was last seen at 1.37pm leaving his home office.
He said: ‘He was picked up on second camera entering main residency at far end of building.
‘He was wearing the same Barbour-style jacket where the mobile phone was recovered from.
‘Family could be seen an hour later in courtyard looking into the windows of residency.
‘At 14:46hrs they entered house including Kirk. A ladder was used by Kirk to look in bedroom window.
‘Kirk runs past the office and reappears holding something apparently hammer was going to be used to force entry by smashing windows.
‘At 3.01pm, the family enter the pool house and 3.03pm exits. They appeared to be upset on exit.’
Mr Norcross told his partner ‘I don’t think I’m going to get through this’ the night before his death’, the inquest heard, before being taken to hospital after taking too much insulin.
Inspector Armstrong told the coroner: ‘He shared with his partner he may have intentionally taken too much insulin before hand and may have done so deliberately and ended up going hospital to get it checked out’. The Policeman said Mick was a type 2 diabetic and ‘financial worries seemed to be at the forefront of his mind’ before his death.
A post-mortem carried out at Basildon Hospital showed the cause of death to be ‘suspension by ligature’. Senior coroner Lincoln Brookes recorded a conclusion of suicide and said: ‘He had been under a great deal of pressure, and I accept the evidence of his family that he was a very proud man who saw himself as a provider and he was very successful.
‘The projects he was working on took longer than he banked on and weren’t going to be as profitable as he hoped. He hoped to be in position to retire. ‘I also take into account his son’s statement, that his mood deteriorated during the covid lockdown was a factor in his mental health.’
The coroner added: ‘Sadly Michael was overcome by a low mood and feeling unable to cope and sadly he acted on impulse.’
Mr Norcross was introduced to Towie as the owner of the Sugar Hut nightclub, the scene of many of the programme’s famous arguments between cast members.
He left the show in 2013, saying the venue’s prominent place in the show had damaged its brand.
Members of Mr Norcross’s family observed the inquest via Microsoft Teams, and did not attend the court in person.
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.
Source: Daily Mail UK