Kenny Davies, a 23-year-old rugby player and coach from Bolton, killed himself after struggling with serious debts. The out-of-work former labourer had agreed a debt management plan, but had started to borrow again. He had run up debts with neighbours and had contacted a number of payday loans companies.
He couldn't see any way out of the problem.
Davies was a player and junior team coach at Langworthy Reds Amateur Rugby League Club. He also played fly-half for Bowdon Rugby Union Football Club.
At the time of his death, he was out of work and had run into money trouble. According to a report in the Daily Mail, he made enquiries about borrowing from payday loans providers, and borrowed money from a neighbour. On the day of his death, in January this year, he asked another neighbour to be a guarantor on a loan for him. After he refused, Davies took his own life.
The coroner heard that Davies had been making enquiries about borrowing large sums from payday loans providers, and had borrowed £1,500 from a neighbour. He was trying to get another neighbour to become a guarantor for another £3,500 loan, but they refused.
His mother Tracey said she knew her son was in debt, but he had not talked to her about it. His father said that Davies had previously run into money trouble, but had seen a debt management company, and made an arrangement to repay the money. His father thought that was an end to the matter, and did not know his son had started trying to borrow money again.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Bolton Coroner Alan Walsh said: 'Kenny kept himself to himself and kept his thoughts to himself. I believe he was a very private man, who could not bring himself to share his problems with friends, family or any one close to him. It is likely that those problems related to debt."
Clearly no-one can know what happened here except for Davies.
However, it shows just how devastating debts can be, and how important it is to tackle debts properly, and get the help you need.
What can you do?
If you are facing problem debts, there are five things you must do immediately in order to avoid your problems spiraling out of control.
1. Face up to them. This is the hardest bit, but it's the only way you are ever going to sort debt problems. Sit down, work out what you owe, and get a full understanding of how dire things are.
2. Get help. Don't assume it's insurmountable, go to a debt charity and they will work through everything with you. No matter how serious your debt problems are, they will have a solution for you.
3. Change how you think. Up until this point you may have seen your biggest problem as not being able to borrow the money you need. You need to change the way you think, so you see the borrowing itself as the problem.
4. Change your habits. Most debts are caused by people simply spending more than they have coming in. The only way to change this is to radically re-think what you need to spend in order to get by.
5. Keep getting help. This isn't a one-hit wonder: there's still a mountain to climb once you have got help with your debts. You need to be able to talk to people you know and trust whenever you hit a bump in the road.
10 consumer rights you should know
Rugby player and coach with debts kills himself
The law states that any goods you buy from a UK retailer should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable amount of time.
This applies even if you buy items in a sale or with a discount voucher. You may have to insist on these rights being respected, though.
Useful phrases to use when you want to show you mean business include, "according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979" and, if it's a service, "according to the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982".
Some shops will allow you to exchange goods without a receipt, but they can refuse to should they wish.
If the goods are faulty, however, another proof of purchase such as a bank statement should work just as well.
If you attempt to return goods within four weeks of the purchase, your chances of getting a full refund are much higher as you can argue that you have not "accepted" them.
After this point, you can only really expect an exchange, repair or part-refund.
The updated Consumer Credit Act states that card companies are jointly and severally liable for credit card purchases of between £100 and £60,260 (whether or not you paid just a deposit or the whole amount on your card).
Anyone spending between these amounts on their credit card is therefore protected if the retailer or service provider goes bust, their online shopping never arrives or the items in question are faulty or not as described.
Start by writing to the agency asking it to either remove or change the entry that you think is wrong. It will investigate the matter and find out whether you have been the victim of ID theft or a bank's mistake.
Within 28 days from receipt of your letter the agency should tell you how the bank has responded. If the bank agrees to change the entry, they will authorise the agency to update their records. They should also send updates to any other credit reference agencies they use.
You can also contact your lender directly to query a mistake. If the lender agrees to the discrepancy, ask them to confirm this in writing on their letterhead and send a copy to the agency, asking them to update your file.
The FOS settles disputes between financial companies such as banks and consumers.
If a financial organisation rejects a complaint you make about its services, you can therefore escalate that complaint to the FOS - as long as you have given the company in question at least eight weeks to respond.
The FOS will then investigate the case, and could force the company to offer you compensation should it see fit.
Bailiffs are allowed to take some of your belongings to sell on to cover certain debts, including unpaid Council Tax and parking fines.
They can, for example, take so-called luxury items such as TVs or games consoles. However, they cannot take essentials such as fridges or clothes.
What's more, they can only generally enter your home to take your stuff if you leave a door or window open or invite them in.
You are therefore within your rights to refuse them access and to ask for related documents such as proof of their identity. If they try to force their way in, you can also call the police to stop them.
Private sector debt collectors do not have the same powers as bailiffs, whatever they tell you.
They cannot, for example, enter your home and take your possessions in lieu of payment.
In fact, they can only write, phone, or visit your home to talk to you about paying back the debt. As with bailiffs, you can also call the police if you feel physically threatened.
Thanks to the Distance Selling Regulations, you actually have more rights buying online or by phone than on the High Street.
You can, for example, send most goods back within a week, for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault.
You will usually need to pay for the return delivery, though. The seller must then refund you within 30 days.
We enter into contracts all the time, whether it be to join a gym, switch energy supplier or take out a loan.
In most cases, once you've signed a contract, you are legally bound by it. In some situations, however, you have the right to cancel it within a certain timeframe.
Credit agreements, for example, can be cancelled within 14 days. And online retailers must tell you about your cancellation rights for any contract made up to stand up legally.