Brother’s suicide death follows loss of both parents

By Kieran Hughes

Oldpark siblings who were left heartbroken by the premature deaths of both their parents have been devastated by further tragedy after the youngest son in the family took his life this week.

Christopher ‘Topher’ McAllister, from Oldpark Avenue, was found dead last Monday morning (August 29), the third member of the immediate family to die since 2004. Twenty five-year-old Christopher had lost his father Eamon in 2009 to cancer and mother Christine five years earlier from natural causes.

He is survived by his older brothers Eamon and Martin and younger sister Stephanie.

Speaking to the North Belfast News this week Eamon and Martin said their younger brother was the rock of the family after their parents died and that although he was quiet and at times withdrawn he never showed any signs that he may have considered taking his own life.

They said they believed that their younger brother made a “spur of the moment mistake” and would have never intended to hurt anyone. They also appealed to any other young men who are depressed or feeling suicidal to seek the help that is available.

The former St Patrick’s Bearnageeha pupil was living with his father and Stephanie in their Oldpark Avenue home when their father was diagnosed with aggressive throat cancer in 2009.

“He was an absolute star throughout all that time and he would have done anything for us,” said Eamon.

“Through that time and even before that time Christopher would have been the one who looked after him (their dad). He showed more character and heart and was more of a man than anyone. After our Dad died he became the man of the house and he took great pride in the house.

“The loss of our Mum and Dad just tore us apart. Chris would have stayed in his room a lot but he seemed happy but deep down it really took its toll and he bottled it up inside.”

They praised Christopher, a window cleaner by trade, for his generous spirit and caring nature and they noted his particular fondness for his aunt Pat Scullion who lived next door to him.

“He loved doing things for people, helping people out and even through the hard times he was there for us all. No-one had a bad word to say about him and he had a heart of gold,” said Martin.

They said there were never any signs that Christopher may have thought of taking his own life.

“We never thought in a million years that he would have come to this. He was very quiet and he was very deep but he was happy and as a family we thought he was doing brilliantly.”

His devastated brothers said they wished he had sought help and urged anyone else who is feeling suicidal to seek help.

“Talk to someone, talk to PIPS or New Life Counselling because there is good help out there. I think it was just a stupid, spur of the moment mistake and he didn’t want to hurt anyone,” said Martin.

Christopher will be laid to rest tomorrow (Friday) after a funeral mass in Sacred Heart Church at 10am.

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