Divorcee killed himself after disappearing on his sister's wedding day

John Burke, 38, went missing on his sister Kate's wedding day

John Burke, 38, went missing on his sister Kate's wedding day

A divorcee killed himself after going missing on the day of his sister's wedding, an inquest heard.

John Burke, 38, had told family members he was just popping out to buy cigarettes. 

His body was found six months later in a remote location in Mollington, near Chester, despite extensive searches and a public appeal from his sister Kate.

Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg said: 'Mr Burke died by his own hand and it might well have been about the time he went missing’.

His body had to be identified through dental records.

The father-of-two, who lived with his parents, had been due to hand out the order of services at the ceremony.

But as family members were preparing for the wedding, Mr Burke, a groundsman, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, said he was popping out for cigarettes and never returned.

The inquest in Chester heard he had complained to his doctor 10 months previously of ‘mood swings and poor sleep’ after breaking up with his wife.

The hearing was told Mr Burke went missing on Saturday August 7, 2010. The night before he had been for an evening out with Kate's future husband and ushers.

His body was discovered on a railway embankment on February 15 this year by a contractor for Story Rail, which worked for Network Rail.

His mother Karen Burke told the inquest her son had ‘gone quiet’ in the run-up to his sister's wedding but added: ‘He was his usual self that Friday. He was laughing and having a bit of a joke.’

Mr Burke, who has an 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter,  had spent the evening with his future brother-in-law.

Mrs Burke said: ‘They went back to the flat. They had fish and chips and a few cans and went to bed early.

‘He got up as usual, had a shower and cut his hair. He said he was going for cigarettes and that was it.

Kate Williamson fought back tears in August 2010 as she begged for help to find her brother John Burke after he mysteriously went missing on her wedding day

Kate Williamson fought back tears in August 2010 as she begged for help to find her brother John Burke after he went missing on her wedding day

‘John was late for everything. You could never rush him so we thought he's gone off for a walk somewhere and lost track of time and he was late.

‘We took the suit with us and left a message on his phone to get to the church and get changed there.’

Despite his disappearance, the wedding, and Kate's honeymoon in Alicante, Spain, went ahead and she made an appeal for her brother to get in touch when she got home.

In a statement read to the hearing, GP Dr Martyn Phipps said Mr Burke had complained of a low mood in October 2009, had anxiety, mood swings and poor sleep.

He said he had occasional thoughts of self-harm and was given anti-depressants and sleeping tablets.

Dr Phipps added: ‘He had broken up with his wife and had no job. He said he was feeling very low.’

Todd Jones of the primary care mental health team said: ‘He was reluctant to elaborate on his current issues but admitted he felt low in mood and described suicidal ideation.’

Police said Mr Burke had been divorced ‘for a while’ but he still had contact with the family and was on ‘quite amicable terms'.

Coroner Mr Rheinberg recorded a verdict of suicide.

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