Everyone has heard the cliches of life being full of surprises, and we never really know what can happen. There are few, however, who entirely understand the weight of these sayings until tragedy strikes, as it did for the family and friends of Ashley Murphy-Hayes. Ashley, a 26-year-old father, was described as “loved” and “respected” by those who knew him—an evening of fun in Bolton, England sadly ended in his fatal death in the early hours of January 7.
The night began as any other night, with Ashley Murphy-Hayes going out with his girlfriend, Kartina Kirkby, and a school friend, Paul Barrett. Barrett recalled Ashley being his “usual annoying self in a good way,” without warning of what would come. After they visited several dance venues, including ROC Night Club and Bamboogy, Ashley and Karina had a disagreement. It was then that Karina and Paul returned to Bamboogy while Ashley stayed behind.
At 4 am, passersby Mbekezeli Mayo and Jude Esan found the young father in the worst of circumstances. Ashley’s neck was stuck between railings, and he was unresponsive with no pulse. They quickly tried to free him from his terrifying predicament, and the nightclub manager called the police and emergency services. However, tragically Ashley was pronounced dead by the hospital an hour later due to asphyxia from neck compression.
At the inquest, police proclaimed no one else had been involved in the death – leading the coroner to classify Ashley’s death as an accident. His family said after the hearing that he was “respected and loved by many” and that “you knew when Ashley was in the room.”
The death of Ashley Murphy-Hayes conveyed clear messages of never taking life for granted, showing gratitude for the time we have with our loved ones, and being aware of the signs of distress in those we love. It is a reminder to always look out for each other, something the life we dearly miss demonstrated with not just his own family and friends but the ones he never had the chance to meet.