A DEPRESSED man killed himself - not knowing his girlfriend was pregnant.

Liam Turner's girlfriend burst into tears as she gave evidence at his inquest last week.

Ashley Jones said: "He didn't know I was pregnant. He just said 'if you are, whatever you want to do I will stand by you'.

"But I used to laugh it off because I never thought I was pregnant."

She is due to give birth next month.

Liam's distraught mum Dianne paid tribute to him after the inquest.

Dianne said: "Liam wasn't just a son, he was like my best friend. We used to do so much together."

Liam, 21, hung himself at his home in Merlin Close, Castlefields, Runcorn, on January 5, just when he seemed to be recovering from depression.

Dianne said Liam and Ashley's child will probably be called Aaron after his brother, or Chelsea-Lee.

She said the birth will leave her with mixed emotions. "It's some comfort and it isn't," said Dianne. "I know people say you have got a little part of him left but then it's not my son, my Liam.

"I'm looking forward to the birth and I'm not - the baby is due around Liam's birthday."

Liam had become depressed from September last year. He started losing weight and looking pale.

He tried to hang himself and broke down in tears at work on December 10, and started having daily contact with the mental health crisis team.

But this was scaled back in late December and an appointment to find him a personal counsellor wasn't due until February.

Dianne was upset at this level of treatment.

"After two weeks of treatment for a depression you are no better off. You need a lot more help," she said.

"The crisis team made an urgent request for his counsellor to be appointed - he was at the highest risk."

A spokesperson for the 5 Boroughs Partnership mental health trust said: "Our staff were clearly upset by the loss of Mr Turner.

"Obviously whenever an incident of this nature occurs the trust investigates in order to learn from incidents such as these.

"In this particular case we believe staff did everything possible to support this gentleman and his family through this difficult time.

"As a result of the investigation and the subsequent coroners hearing, we will be meeting with the family to discuss the findings of the review and continue to offer our support."

Liam had been a pupil at Palace Fields Primary, then Brookvale Comprehensive.

He was skilled at DIY and helped Dianne do up her house, and he enjoyed football and rock climbing.

Dianne said: "He never let anybody down and his friends never let him down."

She added: "Over the years he had his bouts of being fed-up but never like he did recently."

His death has hit his 19-year-old brother hard.

"Arron really misses him," said Dianne,

"they were very close. They grew up together and they were friends - everybody thought they were twins."

Suicide rates in Halton have risen by 25 per cent since 1997, while the national rate has fallen by three per cent.

Young men are most at risk, particularly the unemployed or those with low paid jobs.

Although Dianne spotted Liam was feeling down, many suicides can take families by surprise.

Dianne said: "I think people really do need to pay attention a lot more and take people being a bit down and depressed a bit more seriously."

At Cheshire Coroners Court on Thursday, assistant deputy corner Dr Robert Hunter recorded a verdict of suicide and told Dianne Turner: "Liam was much loved by yourself, his girlfriend, and his friends."