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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grief-stricken pet owner, 44, KILLED himself 'because he couldn't get over the death of his beloved cat'

By Rick Dewsbury

A grief-stricken pet owner killed himself because he struggled to cope with the death of his beloved cat, an inquest heard.

Bachelor Michael McAleese, 44, was devastated after 13-year-old tabby cat Sophie died in his arms after suffering a stroke.

The recluse - who was not known by his neighbours - was so traumatised by the loss that the dead cat 'slept' on his bed for three days afterwards.

Mr McAleese then told a man who came to collect Sophie for cremation that he would kill himself.

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Michael McAleese's cat Sophie sleeps in a tribute video he made to her after she died from a stroke. Days later Mr McAleese killed himself because he was so upset about the death of his pet

Five days after the cat's death Mr McAleese posted a moving video in the moggy's memory on YouTube, which featured pictures of her backed with sad violin music.

Unemployed Mr McAleese captioned the video with: 'This is in her memory. She was such a wonderful little cat.

'This is a montage tribute to my beloved Sophie cat. I loved her so much and still do.'

Mr McAleese's body was found eight days later on December 21 last year at his rented lodgings in Poole, Dorset.

A post mortem examination revealed Mr McAleese had taken an overdose.

Memorial: The video called 'RIP Sophie cat - calico' that Mr McAleese posted on YouTube. It is accompanied with sad violin music

Rest: This shot from the film shows Sophie taking a nap.
Mr McAleese was given the cat from his landlord after becoming attached to her

However, pathologist Dr Sherie Haider said toxicology tests showed the level of one the drugs had been within a safe range and she was unable to ascertain an exact cause of Mr McAleese's death.

Mr McAleese's landlady Adriana Van Dijk told the inquest in Bournemouth of the impact Sophie's death had on him.

Ms Van Dijk said she had first owned the cat but gave it to her tenant because he had grown so attached to her.

She said: 'As soon as Michael saw Sophie he seemed to fall in love with her.

'I was away a lot so he looked after her. She had the sweetest nature and they totally clicked. She was like a child to him.

Moving: Mr McAleese wrote titles on the three and a half minute long film, including 'What are you looking at?' over this image of Sophie by his window

Hello kitty: A close up of Kitty that was included in the montage of images on YouTube

'My God, I'm beautiful': Sophie poses in front of a mirror in Mr McAleese's home in Poole, Dorset

'He was devastated when she died and phoned me in the middle of the night. He slept with her for three days.

'I tried to persuade him life was more than a cat, but in his case it wasn't.'

In a statement, coroner's officer David Tong said several notes were discovered next to his body.

He added: 'The flat was very tidy, it looked like everything was prepared for his death.'

Mr McAleese's sister Juliet Willmore said her brother had also been devastated by the death of their mother some years ago.

They had lost contact for many years but he phoned her to say: 'I want you to have this cat, you are the only ones I trust to look after her.'

Mrs Willmore added: 'He even told the man who came to cremate the cat that he was going to kill himself.'

Mr Sheriff Payne, the coroner for Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset, recorded a verdict that Mr McAleese took his own life.



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