By David Humphreys

The girlfriend of a man with a history of self-harm urged police to take him to sober up before he thought about doing so again.

Joshua James Alexander Hamill, a builder from Northampton, was found in the grand tower at Flint Castle on March 5, 2016.

An inquest into his death was told Mr Hamill, 24, who had a history of mental health issues, heavy drinking and self-harm, was in Flint visiting his pregnant girlfriend at the time of his death.

His girlfriend, Emily Johnstone, said she had urged police to take him to sober up on Saturday, June 4, but she had been told his behaviour was “not enough to justify arresting him”

Mr Hamill's father, Alexander, said despite a history of self-harm the family did not believe he intended to bring his life to an end.

John Gittins (pictured), coroner for North Wales East and Central, said Mr Hamill had been visiting Miss Johnstone in Flint.

The pair had a disagreement outside a pub in the town and as he had indicated self-harm in the past, Miss Johnstone contacted the police with her concerns.

Officers let Mr Hamill go and he escorted Miss Johnstone back to a family address in Holywell.

Just before 10.45am on Sunday, June 5, Mr Hamill was found hanged by a man visiting at Flint Castle with his two daughters.

Giving evidence to the hearing at Ruthin, Miss Johnstone said the pair met in Northampton while she was studying musical theatre in 2014.

She told the inquest she was aware of his self-harming as he would often contact her afterwards and would be “sorry” for what he had done.

Miss Johnstone said she felt the self-harming “was a cry for help” and “he felt he needed to do something to get help”.

On June 3 Mr Hamill arrived at Dee View guest house in Flint where Miss Johnstone had been staying – it was a complete surprise to her.

It was said Mr Hamill “wasn't in the best mood” but the pair went to the beach that day.

On Saturday, June 4, after visiting Chester, Miss Johnstone went to her mother's address in Holywell.

Mr Hamill waited near the guest house as he did not get on with her mother.

As she spent a few hours at her mother's address, Miss Johnstone said her phone had ran out of battery and as a result she did not see the messages from Mr Hamill, who had become “more agitated” waiting for her.

Miss Johnstone suggested her boyfriend met her in Holywell town centre and found him in a pub after being unable to contact him.

On arrival, Miss Johnstone said her Mr Hamill “seemed alright” and the pair had a lift back to Flint from a family friend.

Mr Hamill seemed “too quiet” and became “hett up” when Miss Johnstone's family friend said they missed her.

She became upset at the way Mr Hamill reacted and there was an “exchange of words” and Mr Hamill was agitated.

In the guest house, Mr Hamill threw a photo frame across the room, smashing it.

Miss Johnstone said she tried to manage an anxiety attack and her boyfriend snapped out of his mood and tried to comfort her.

When Mr Hamill tried to hug her, Miss Johnstone shrugged him off, which was met with her boyfriend saying she thought he was a rapist and began pulling his own hair, punching his head and pacing around.

Mr Hamill began to take off part of his bandages and said “if I'm going to die, I want something decent to wear” - something Miss Johnstone said she had never heard him say before.

Her boyfriend then left the building, shouting threats to self-harm and jumping in front of a train.

Miss Johnstone said she “really believed” Mr Hamill was capable of carrying out the threats and she called the police as he ran towards Flint train station.

She told officers her boyfriend was in the train station but she was too scared to go inside in case he had “done something”.

Later, Miss Johnstone found Mr Hamill near the Ship Inn shouting. He was with a police officer.

He was going in and out of the pub and Miss Johnstone said she told officers Mr Hamill needed taking in to sober up because. if not. “he wouldn't think twice” about self harming.

It was said Mr Hamill calmed down slightly around the police officers but then became “disorderly and abusive” while Miss Johnstone tried talking to one of them.

Miss Johnstone said a police officer recommended she went back to her mother's address and another said his behaviour had been “not enough to justify arresting him” as he was “more likely” to be drunk and disorderly.

Miss Johnstone said when Mr Hamill behaved in a similar fashion in Northampton, police would “deal with him”.

She returned to the guest house to retrieve Mr Hamill's things and he replied that he did not need them as he wasn't “going to be here” before proceeding to put them in a skip next to the pub.

As police officers escorted Miss Johnstone back to her mother's address, she said Mr Hamill shouted “please don't go, please don't leave me” and when he called her a male police officer rejected the call on her phone.

Miss Johnstone said she had received messages from Mr Hamill throughout the night but did not know where he was.

After learning of his death she had found pictures he had sent to her which “possibly” could have been for her to go to find him.

Alexander Hamill said his son had a lot of “learning difficulties” and suffered with ADHD, depression and behavioural disorders.

He said of his son: “You couldn't meet a nicer lad. He'd go out of his way to help anyone he could.”

Mr Hamill said his son was diagnosed at the age of 10 with learning difficulties and during his mid-teens he began to drink alcohol with older boys.

It was around this time that he did not want to take his medication, his father said.

Mr Hamill said the “major turning point” for his son was the “void” in mental health treatment between the ages of 16 and 18. He “didn't have the support” and was not able to see his child psychologist as he became an adult.

It was said that Mr Hamill attempted to hang himself at the age of 20 and had been drinking.

His father said: “Drink wasn't the problem. Mental health was the problem. He couldn't cope.

“The reason he drank was to try and banish the demons he had.”

Josh Hamill would “overthink things and get worked up,” drank heavily and on would self-harm “quite a few occasions”.

”He would always say he'd got to the lowest point and got so frustrated that he was calling out for help.”

On one such occasion Mr Hamill cut his hand deliberately with a knife quite seriously to the point of reconstructive surgery being required.

Mr Hamill said he felt his son was being “shoved from one department to the other” and there was “absolutely no communication” between mental health and substance misuse support teams.

Meeting Miss Johnstone, with whom he was expecting a child, gave Josh Hamill a “confidence boost” and he was “trying to get himself back on track” but would take “two steps forward, hit a wall and then take four steps back.”

Alexander Hamill said his son's death “absolutely pole-axed” him as ”everything seemed tickety boo before”.

Mr Gittins asked Mr Hamill if he felt his son had intended to take his own life, to which he replied: “We feel it was another cry for help and he didn't intentionally want it to go the way it did.”

The inquest continues.