Leah Croucher’s brother: what happened to missing Milton Keynes teenager’s brother - family tragedy explained

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Haydon Croucher took his own life in November 2019, just before the nine-month anniversary of his sister Leah’s disappearance

The family of missing teenager Leah Croucher were hit by a second tragedy following her disappearance after her older brother killed himself.

Haydon, 24, took his own life after telling a therapist he was struggling to cope after Leah, 19, went missing, an inquest heard.

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Haydon and Leah CroucherHaydon and Leah Croucher
Haydon and Leah Croucher

Leah went missing in February 2019, vanishing while she was walking to work. On Wednesday, police said the search for her had turned into a murder investigation after finding some of her items and human remains at a house in Milton Keynes.

Leah’s disappearance had affected her older brother Haydon. Haydon’s mum Tracey Furness said after his death that her son was “consumed with pain and anguish” and felt “alone” and “lost” after his sister vanished, and “felt he had no other choice other than to take his own life.”

He was found dead in his flat in Bletchley, near Milton Keynes, in November 2019, the day before the nine-month anniversary of Leah’s disappearance, a coroner’s court heard in 2020.

Haydon was discovered by his mum and older sister Jade and was rushed to hospital, where he sadly died two days later.

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During Haydon’s inquest in 2020, assistant therapist Chantelle Tillison said in the last of three sessions he felt there was no future for himself.

Ms Tillison said: “He felt hopeless and said he would be better off dead. He explained Leah was still missing and found it difficult to cope with no family support.”

Speaking after his death, Haydon’s mum said: “What I am going to say will not be easy to hear. Some will feel outraged at the level of openness I am going to share.

“We cannot any longer hide from the reality, we cannot pretend this doesn’t happen, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and shy away from the horror of ill mental health. I cannot pretty this up, I wish I could.

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“On Thursday 14th of November, my son felt so alone, so lost, so broken that he felt he had no other choice other than to take his own life.

“Haydon was so consumed with pain and anguish and despite the love around him it wasn’t enough. His mother’s love and that of his entire family was not enough.”

Jade wrote: "Haydon, me mum and dad held onto your hand until the very last moment but we will hold you in our hearts forever! You will always be with us until the day we meet you again.

"Mum and Dad might not be together but one thing that will never waver is the love they have for you their darling son!

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"We will all stick together as a unit and get through the pain with the love and support of both of our amazing stepparents Dave and Claire."

John Croucher with Haydon and LeahJohn Croucher with Haydon and Leah
John Croucher with Haydon and Leah

Haydon’s older sister Jade added: “Haydon, me mum and dad held onto your hand until the very last moment but we will hold you in our hearts forever! You will always be with us until the day we meet you again.

“Mum and Dad might not be together but one thing that will never waver is the love they have for you, their darling son!

“We will all stick together as a unit and get through the pain with the love and support of both of our amazing step-parents Dave and Claire.”

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What happened to Leah Croucher?

Leah went missing in February 2019 after vanishing while she was walking to work.

The 19-year-old was last seen on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane, Furzton, just after 8.15am on 15 February that year, heading in the direction of Loxbeare Drive and Chaffron Way. Her phone left the network, consistent with it being destroyed, at 8.34am in the area of Furzton Lake.

A large-scale missing person investigation has been ongoing for more than three years to find her, with police carrying out extensive searches and door-to-door enquiries.

On Wednesday (12 October) Thames Valley Police found human remains at a property in Loxbeare Drive, Milton Keynes, after a tip-off from a member of the public on Monday.

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The focus of the search is now on the house located less than half a mile from where she was last seen, with police saying investigators would be there “for some time”.

Police officers launched a murder inquiry when they found a rucksack and other personal belongings of Leah’s at the property.

The force said in a statement: “During our forensic examinations at the scene in Loxbeare Drive, Milton Keynes, we have identified human remains. The forensic examination continues and will do for some time.

“It is likely to take some time to formally identify the deceased. Leah’s family continue to be kept informed and updated.”

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Police and forensic officers search a house in Loxbeare Drive where human remains have been found (Photo: PA)Police and forensic officers search a house in Loxbeare Drive where human remains have been found (Photo: PA)
Police and forensic officers search a house in Loxbeare Drive where human remains have been found (Photo: PA) | PA

Hundreds of officers and staff have worked on the search for Leah over the past three-and-a-half years, scouring 1,200 hours of CCTV and carrying out 4,000 house-to-house inquiries.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter described the scene at the house where Leah’s possessions have been found as “difficult and challenging”, adding that “thorough and respectful” searches may take some time.

Mr Hunter urged members of the public in the Loxbeare Drive area on the day the teenager disappeared and those with relevant information to come forward.

He said: “The call from the member of the public that we received on Monday was the first occasion that we were alerted to this address, and we thank them for contacting us immediately to report their concerns.

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“Our thoughts remain with Leah’s family and friends, and we will continue to offer them all the support that they need.”

He added: “I appreciate the passage of time that has passed but we remain hopeful that somebody may have a crucial piece of information, particularly given this significant development today.

“It may be that you have CCTV in the area. If you have any footage from around the time of Leah’s disappearance, please check this and contact us on 101 or online, quoting reference number 43190049929.

“No matter how insignificant you believe any information you may have will be, please contact us. Your information could prove critical in this investigation.”

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For those struggling, there are a variety of places which offer help and support. Anyone can contact Samaritans for free at any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email [email protected] or visit the Samaritans website.

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