A MUM has told how her much-loved chef son died from suspected gunshot wounds after struggling to come to terms with the loss of his beloved brother.
Wendy Taylor pleaded with son Craig Johnson to see a doctor just days before he was found dead at his home on Burrow Heights Lane, Lancaster.
The award-winning chef, described by friends as “amazing”, couldn’t get over the accidental death of his 21-year-old brother Ben Taylor last June.
Hours before police were called to Craig’s home on February 11, an inquest was held for Ben, who died in a collision with a lorry whilst cycling to work in Grimsby.
Wendy said: “When Ben died he became a different son, he couldn’t accept he had gone, he couldn’t grieve.
“I saw him on the Friday before and he just wasn’t my son and I begged him to see a doctor and he didn’t, he was just not there.”
In the week’s leading up to the inquest Wendy could see her son was struggling to cope.
She said: “During the last two weeks he was in quite a state, he would ring me from work and he never did that.
“He never got over my mum and dad’s death.
“The fact that I was ill, all the deaths and my daughter losing her baby was the slow build up, he never asked for help.”
Wendy, 49, is now grieving for two sons as well as her parents.
She said: “We were all very close, we were always in contact.
“I am absolutely distraught, I had five children and now I’ve got three.”
Originally from Grimsby, Craig moved to Lancaster 11 years ago at the age of 19 where he began his career.
Craig worked at The Sun Hotel, on Church Street, in Lancaster and was a well known figure in the community.
He won Mitchell’s Chef of the Year in 2008 and also worked at The Borough, in Dalton Square, and The Water Witch at Aldcliffe Lane on the Lancaster Canal towpath.
Matt Jackson, Lancaster Brewery boss, and Craig’s colleagues paid tribute to their friend who “everybody loved”.
Matt said: “On the early hours of Wednesday, Craig celebrated chef and friend to thousands, sadly died at his home where he lived with his fiancée Rebecca.
“It has left all that knew him so shocked and empty as his very being filled so many lives.
“We all truly believe that he was oblivious to how many life long friends he had amassed in such a short life.
“The pressure that Craig put on himself, clearly became too much. The inquest that left an open verdict on the very same day he took his life was clearly a button pushed that no one saw coming.”
Wendy said: “Craig was amazing, he was a character, everybody loved him.”
Police were called at around 3.40am following reports of a man threatening to harm himself with a firearm. Officers and paramedics attended and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A collection is being held at the Sun for the family. Craig’s funeral will be held at St Thomas’s Church, on Marton Street, Lancaster on March 2 at 1pm.