Coronation Street actor killed himself hours after finding out about his father’s death
Inquest hears Trevor Smith had been struggling with his stuttering career, stress and his sexuality in the months before he committed suicide
That same day he heard of his father’s death as he was being discharged from the hospital where he had been treated for the injuries he had inflicted on himself a week earlier.
Mr Smith, who was also known by his stage name Trevor Hancock, had been discharged from Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital on January 5.
He was admitted there on December 30 2014 after being found at his home by police suffering from self-inflicted injuries. They were called after friends rang 999 fearing for his wellbeing.
Chesterfield Coroner’s Court was told the actor had sent a text to a young student actor he “had taken under his wing” saying he couldn’t go on.
In the message he told Tom Lewin he was “Sorry I have to go now. You’re the only one who can do this.”
In it he asked him to ring the police as well as people he wanted to contact about his death. Bizarrely he also claimed it would “improve his acting”.
Mr Lewin rang for help and police smashed down the door at his home and found him unconscious in the bathroom. They revived him, but he told them he did not want to be saved.
After Mr Smith’s death Mr Lewin told police: “It was very difficult to gauge what emotions he was experiencing because he was a good actor and good at hiding his feelings from others.”
Trevor was admitted to hospital and underwent surgery and was assessed by psychiatrists. They were happy for him to be released, but would need to be monitored by the community mental health team
The thespian, who was born in Middleton, Greater Manchester, had been a professional actor since 1991 and trained at Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre from 1996 to 1999.
He went on to appear in Coronation Street in 1999 as Kevin Dolan – a valuer from estate agents Adam Wade & C, who were selling the soap’s shop, The Kabin.
He then appeared in two episodes of Emmerdale playing a character called Tom as well as roles in Hollyoaks, ITV’s The Memoirs of Sherlock Homes, and Channel 4 medical drama No Angels.
Along with a number of short film credits, including Gate Crash, Behind Closed Doors he appeared in a feature film Salvage, as well as various TV commercials.
But his career had stalled in recent years and his sister Julie Smith Said he had suffered from “dark moods” and had been depressed about his life.
“He loved acting and had small roles on TV and in the theatre,” she said in a statement. “He believed he would become a great actor.”
But after his career dipped and his mother died he moved away from Manchester in 2010. She said he had mentioned suicide in the past, but to her knowledge he had never harmed himself.
Derbyshire’s assistant coroner James Newman read a statement from Katherine Wells, a mental health nurse at the hospital, who had told Mr Smith his father had died.
It was agreed he would stay with close friend and co-founder of his Men in Dressing Gowns theatre company Darren Langford at his home in Manchester while he arranged his father’s funeral.
Mr Langford accompanied his friend to his home to pick up some items. But he left the house, claiming he needed to take a weighted training jacket back to a friend.
When he did not return for an hour, Mr Langford called the police, who found his body in the Middle Peak Quarry in Wirksworth, the following day wearing the jacket.
Mr Newman said that police had discovered that while he was in hospital, the actor had disclosed “problems with his career, stress and his sexuality”.
When officers were called in on the night he disappeared they found his mobile in his home and on it they saw pictures of the quarry where his body was discovered.
Summing up Mr Newman said: “Whilst in hospital it would appear that Trevor Smith, to some extent, disclosed the reason why he had self-harmed, it was, mainly related to his career, stress and his sexuality.”
His body was spotted by a police helicopter and it was pulled from the lagoon. A post mortem found he died as a result of drowning,
Returning a verdict of suicide, the coroner said: “I’m satisfied with the evidence before me that Trevor Smith intended to take his own life, but furthermore he took steps to carry that out.”
Credit: The Daily Telegraph Photograph: Eugene Henderson & PA