A DAD-of-one who tried to hang himself has paid tribute to the police officer who saved him and made him realise life was worth living.
Since last week’s foiled suicide bid Shaun Clarke, 24, has found love with new girlfriend Laura Buckel.
He was found only moments from death, hanging from the attic cover of his home in Spring Street, Accrington.
The police and ambulance service were alerted after a close friend contacted them saying he had received a text message saying: "Thanks for being a good friend, I’ll see you in heaven."
PC Lee Sutcliffe was the first officer to arrive at the scene.
He said: "I got the call about 3pm and when I got to the house the door was luckily open. I made a quick search of the downstairs and found nothing so I went upstairs. As soon as I went up the stairs I could see Shaun hanging and my initial thought was ‘Is he dead’?
"My first instinct was to grab his feet and try and hold his weight. I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing him there.
"The couple of seconds it took the paramedics to follow me into the house felt like hours. When they arrived they helped me to hold his weight and cut him down and then they took over."
The ambulance crew said afterwards that Shaun was literally seconds away from death and that without PC Sutcliffe’s efforts the outcome could have been very different
Shaun said: "I now feel really embarrassed and silly about what I tried to do. I had been having a lot of problems with my ex-girlfriend who wasn’t allowing me to have contact with my 13-month-old girl.
"That day I just thought I can’t do this anymore. I don’t remember actually doing it as it’s all a bit of a blur.
"Apparently I even wrote a suicide note, which I can’t remember.
"I can’t thank Lee enough. He really is one in a million.
"He came to visit me when I was in hospital and some of the things he said really hit home. For the first time I realised that my actions didn’t just affect me, they affected my family, friends and the person who would find me.
"During his visit he told me he will never forget finding me there and that he won’t be able to sleep for a long time, and for that I am truly sorry."
Shaun was released from hospital last Friday and has already started to rebuild his life.
He said: "I have recently started a new relationship with an old friend of mine and before the incident I just couldn’t see how important it was.
"But now my eyes have been opened and Laura has given me something to live for. She is expecting a baby and I am looking forward to bringing it up as my own.
"I just can’t believe I risked her finding me. The shock could have forced her to lose the baby."
Laura, 24, said: "I had no idea he was planning anything like this or that he felt so low. I am just glad it has helped him to see clearer and that he is now looking forward to our future together."
PC Sutcliffe is now being put forward for a special commendation by his superiors.