A loyal dog stayed by the side of his owner during a “cold and windy” night after he tragically took his own life three days before Christmas, leaving his family “devastated”.

Liam McNally, 28, left his home in Murton on December 22 to take his dog out for what was expected to be a long walk - but never returned.

Concerned mum Julie Richards attempted to contact her son but never received a response so instead contacted the police who found Liam, with his “very loyal” dog still by his side.

The Northern Echo: Liam and his much loved dog.Liam and his much loved dog. (Image: JULIE RICHARDS)

Liam, who worked as an electrical engineer, was a loving dad to his seven-year-old son Hunter and a friend to many who have all been left in mourning following his passing.

Mum Julie said: “Liam was the most loving person you could ever meet. He was so concerned about other people’s feelings, and he’s always been there for me and doted on his little boy.

“He just used to be there for everyone – but he obviously bottled his own feelings up.”

She added: “When he left to take out the dog, he said goodbye and told me he’d see me later. He even left his bedroom light on like he was coming back and there was nothing untoward.

The Northern Echo: Liam pictured with son Hunter as a baby.Liam pictured with son Hunter as a baby. (Image: JULIE RICHARDS)

“After a sleepless night I had just kept ringing and ringing him and that’s when I just knew.”

Following his passing, friends of Liam decided to set up a fundraiser with hopes of helping to pay for his funeral as well as putting money aside for his young son.

The fundraiser has since been closed and has raised more than £13,000 for the family.

Julie said: “The fundraiser has gone above and beyond,we’ve had so many messages from the community here in Murton – it’s just been unbelievable.”

The Northern Echo: Liam McNally.Liam McNally. (Image: JULIE RICHARDS)

Following her son's passing, Julie has vowed to use Liam’s legacy to promote and advocate for men’s mental health, as it was her son himself and his friends whose motto was “mates who care, share”.

She said: “What I am going to focus on now and what is getting me through this time is that I want to promote men’s mental health in any way I can.

“Just talk. Pick up the phone and ask your friend if he is okay. Just do it – things like this are happening far too much these days.


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The Northern Echo: Liam McNally.Liam McNally. (Image: JULIE RICHARDS)

“They think the world would be a better place without them and it’s not, it leaves devastation. I just want people to know that there is help there.

“I want to use Liam’s legacy to promote men’s mental health as no mother and no family should have to go through this.”