A LINE has been drawn under the tragedy of Ashley McKinnon’s death according to family who gathered at the Wyvern Car Park yesterday to mark what would have been his 18th birthday.
Ashley, who had been living at Radnor Lodge in Radnor Street, committed suicide shortly before 9.30pm on February 13 when he jumped from the top of the town centre car park.
Since his death, family and friends have shown strength in numbers with a range of memorials and events dedicated to his memory, along with his funeral, which took place in March.
Family, including his mother Sam Butcher and sister Corrie, 15, gathered at the scene of his death yesterday with flowers, cards and gifts to mark the milestone in his life.
“We are trying to celebrate his birthday as if he were here,” said Sam, 41. “We have set up a few balloons and we are having a little drink. There’s a birthday cake too.
“It has been horrendous for us all, this whole period in our lives. This would have been a major birthday for him. We are doing this not just for myself and my daughter, but for the children and family he loved. He adored all the children in our family.
“I just hope the things we leave here are not destroyed. There are lots and lots of flowers, cards, a banner and a jar of peanut butter – he couldn’t go without peanut butter.”
Like many 18-year-olds, Ashley had something special in mind for his coming of age, according to his mum. “He wanted to go to Foxies (a lap dancing club in Theatre Square). We would’ve clubbed together and given him a decent night. He would have got more tattoos too,” said Sam, who no longer lives in Swindon.
“The last time he talked about it, he said he wanted a compass tattooed on his hand.
“It was hideous, but we loved it because it made him happy. He would have also got some music notes tattooed on him too, because he loved music so much.”
The family will now attempt to find some closure on the difficult episode in their lives.
“We have to lay him to rest now and try to move on. We need to build a life for our daughter and help her get through this,” said Sam. “She (Corrie) has good days and bad days. We just have to keep strong.
“We talk about Ashley lots and she’s been amazing so far. I’m proud of her. We all are.
“She’s made a scrapbook of all the things they used to do, all of Ashley’s favourite things. She’s so strong.”