After Greater Manchester Police did not inform his wife, a father-of-4 was cremated and not buried with photos of his family.

Alex Reynolds was known as Brian Alex Reynolds. He was discovered dead in Bury at 8 PM on March 9.

An inquest at Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard that a friend had called 999 about the 39-year-old’s welfare almost five hours earlier.

A note left in his living room had contained his dying wishes, along with a message to wife Victoria, in which Alex told her she had ‘made all his dreams come true’. 

Victoria only found out about the note nine weeks after Alex’s death, when he had already been cremated, against the wishes he had left in his final message.

After Alex was killed, Detective Inspector Nathan Percival spotted the note and apologized to Victoria and her loved ones for any’miscommunications’.

Victoria, through her solicitors, released a statement after the inquest stating that Alex would have been better off if the ambulance and police had arrived earlier. 

Brian Alex Reynolds, known as Alex, was found dead at his home in Bury, at 8pm on March 9. An inquest heard he wrote a note about his funeral plans, but this was not given to his wife until nine weeks later, by which time he had been cremated

Alex Reynolds (Brian Alex Reynolds), was discovered dead in his Bury home on March 9th at 8pm. Inquests revealed that he made a note regarding his funeral plans. This was not handed to his wife until nine months later. 

Victoria told the inquest she had initially felt ‘angry’ at Alex because she thought he had not left a note and presumed he had been angry with her, which ‘took a huge toll’ on her mental health and left her ‘distraught’.

In a statement about Alex’s life, Victoria said he had the ‘gift of the gab’ and managed to secure a job as a car salesman, following a ‘troubled’ upbringing.

Victoria said friends knew him as ‘funny’, ‘confident’, and ‘the life and soul of the party’, while at home he was a quiet family man, who adored his wife and children.

Alex and Victoria are childhood sweethearts. They were together from the age of 14 and have three children.

The couple also had a 12-year-old foster daughter.

Victoria said Alex had meningitis and that, even though he recovered from the illness in 2017, he developed crippling migraines almost every day. This was an underlying factor in Alex’s mental decline.

In March 2020, Alex was furloughed from his job and ‘struggled’ as his basic wage was ‘low’ and a lot of his earnings came from commission on successful sales, the inquest was told.

Eventually he lost his job, which Victoria described as a ‘big blow’ and he was diagnosed with depression in November 2020.

Alex got a new job in the new year and Victoria said he ‘seemed fine’ when she dropped him off to work on February 3.

She was later informed that Alex had attempted to take his own life and then called himself an ambulance, before being taken to the Irwell Unit at Fairfield Hospital.

Alex chose to opt out of Victoria when he was admitted. He would receive updates on his progress on the ward, but would also speak regularly with Victoria on the telephone and in person. 

According to Dr Ankur Khanna, Alex showed remarkable improvement in the three weeks he spent at the ward.

After being discharged, he received a visit from Alison Ehliger (mental health nurse), who said that Alex was affable and friendly.

Alex told her that he was on medication and could recite to her the number for Samaritans. 

The doctor ruled that follow-up visits were not necessary. Ms. Ehliger stated that she would raise any concerns with Dr Khanna if there was.

Despite this, Victoria said that in the following days Alex was ‘not himself’.

In a statement to the inquest she said that he would ‘pad around downstairs’ at night time and in the morning there would be empty beer bottles in the living room.

She told the court that she had no insight into whether he was taking his medication and because of Alex’s decision not to have the nature of his treatment disclosed, she did not know exactly how much he should be taking or when. 

On March 5, Victoria’s brother Andrew went to visit Alex and Victoria and after becoming worried about Alex’s state, he said Victoria and the children should stay with him in Ramsbottom.

Victoria visited Alex on March 9 and she said they chatted, had a ‘lovely cuddle’, and spoke about how much they loved each other, before she left.

The same day, Alex’s friend Lee Bowers spoke with him on the phone around 1pm and became concerned after Alex questioned what the point of living was.

Lee called 999 at 3.03pm and said that Alex was having suicidal thoughts. At 3.13pm, Lee called 999 to report that Alex had been having suicidal thoughts. This call was then referred the North West Ambulance Service ( NWAS) and made a category four. That means that there was an average response time of three hours.

Later, a friend Tom Stringer visited him and said that he wasn’t too concerned about Alex.

Alex sent Victoria a text message just after 7pm telling Victoria to stay away from the house, and asking her not send Tom. 

An inquest heard Alex attempted to take his life on February 3 before being taken to the Irwell Unit at Fairfield Hospital (pictured). He spent three weeks on the ward, and showed considerable signs of improvement, according to Dr Ankur Khanna, before he was discharged on February 26

Inquests revealed that Alex tried to kill himself on February 3. He was then taken to Fairfield Hospital’s Irwell Unit (pictured). After three weeks of being on the ward and showing significant signs of improvement according to Dr Ankur Khanna before being discharged on Feb 26

Alex was found dead at his home by paramedics. She called 999 from 7.16pm. 

Liam Kendrick, NWAS’ acting service delivery manager, admitted an ambulance, which became available at 6.20pm, should have been sent to Alex but due to an error by the dispatcher it was sent elsewhere. 

Detective Inspector Nathan Percival attended Alex’s home after his body was found, and found the note in the lounge which he said he expected officers to tell Victoria about the following morning.

GMP never contacted her again.

DI Percival described it as a ‘miscommunication’ and offered to meet with Victoria to talk about it in person.

He said: ‘It’s tragic. I do apologise, it certainly shouldn’t happen like that.’

Victoria, in a statement made by JMW to the outside court of the inquiry hearing, stated: “I am completely devastated by Alex’s loss.”

“I have now four kids to care for.” All of them have been amazing in how they dealt with it all and I am extremely proud of all of them. They will likely be greatly affected throughout their entire lives.

“I believe Alex would have been able to recover if the police or ambulance had reached him in his time.

“Our family went through an awful ordeal. We will never be able to recover from this ordeal.

“The added confusion caused by the initial failures and the absence of contact with the police, as well as the fact that I never received the photo and note for nine weeks have taken a toll on me and my mental health. We can’t ever get closure because we know that we didn’t have the chance to fulfill his last wishes because of mistakes made by the police.

Alex and I have always been best of friends. He is my only friend. I’m lost. Alex is no more able to speak, but I have one and would love for GMP or NWAS help me address my failings.

**For confidential support call Samaritans on 116123 or visit a Samaritans branch**