Heartbreaking story behind sister’s final photo with her brother after he was arrested at clifftop to prevent him taking his own life
- Jessica Huggard cherishes final photo with her brother Luke
- She never saw him again and his body has never been found
- If you need help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14
Jessica Huggard cherishes a photo taken with her younger brother Luke in 2015 at Melbourne Airport because it would be the last time the siblings ever saw each other.
Two years later, Mr Huggard, then aged 32, is believed to have taken his own life at a notorious suicide spot in Sydney’s eastern suburbs called The Gap in April, 2017.
His body has never been found and there has been no inquest into his death so he has not been declared legally dead and his family can’t farewell him properly with a funeral.
Almost six years on from his death, his sister has started a petition to get an inquest date from the NSW Coroner’s Court and a death certificate.
‘He deserves better than this,’ Ms Huggard said.
Good morning movers Groovers an shakers ., happy Mardi Gras ??✨ So., I need support in able to give Luke the funeral he deserves Please take the time to sign my petition an if you’d like to go further forward a letter to your local mp as I have an ask them to help us get a an inquest date and death certificate . Gratitude in advance . Peace love an blessing to you all an thanks for your time . Jessica may ?
Luke Huggard (left) and his sister Jessica are pictured in Melbourne Airport in 2015 before he flew to Sydney. She never saw him again
‘My brother walked in and lit up a room. He could talk to anyone. He was full of life and full of laughter.
A beloved brother
Luke Huggard grew up in Melbourne where he did an arts degree and then studied journalism as a post-graduate.
‘He was amazing. My brother was a really charismatic, six-foot (183cm), very gay man and he grew up in a world that didn’t accept that,’ said his sister Jessica.
In 2015, he moved to Sydney to study law and found a home in the city’s gay scene.
Luke Huggard is pictured as a young man
But Mr Huggard, who had long battled mental illness, started using drugs.
At the time of his disappearance, his sister said had been clean for a period, but was taking prescription medication.
She believes he was in a withdrawal-induced psychosis when he took his life.
‘Two weeks before he died, he had a job, he had bought animals again, he had his own apartment. He was functioning, he was clean and happy,’ Ms Huggard said.
‘He had this laugh … it was very loud and it was a big belly laugh,’ she told 7News.
Three days before he was last seen alive, Mr Huggard was arrested by police while attempting to take his life at the same spot.
He was later taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick and admitted to an acute mental health unit as an involuntary patient.
A report by NSW Health and obtained by the family said Mr Huggard was suicidal, experiencing delusions and withdrawing from drug use.
‘He was experiencing anxiety and agitation which was felt to be in the context of an amphetamine withdrawal,’ the report said.
Mr Huggard was reviewed by a psychiatrist on April 4 and, as he was no longer experiencing delusional ideas and suicidal ideation, was discharged.
He was referred to see a GP but did not show. Staff at the hospital were the last people to see him alive.
That evening, CCTV captured someone matching Mr Huggard’s description taking their life at The Gap.
He was reported missing by a friend the following day.
On April 17, almost two weeks after his disappearance, the police contacted the hospital to advise them of his suspected death, though they had no body.
Despite this, Mr Huggard still remains on the Australian Federal Police’s missing person’s list six years later.
After a police investigation which concluded he was probably dead, his case was referred to the coroner in 2018.
The family has heard very little since and wants answers about why he was discharged from the hospital on his own and why the family and were not told when he was admitted to the mental health unit.
‘This isn’t about blaming anyone for his death, it’s about finding out what happened in those last two days,’ Ms Huggard said.
She has had enough of waiting.
‘You’ve got everything in writing to say he’s dead. There’s ample amounts of evidence there,’ she said.
The family, whose trauma has been worsened by the uncertainty and the wait, wants an inquest and a death certificate, so they can hold a funeral.
‘It feels like we are being punished for something that it is just a tragic situation all around,’ Ms Huggard said.
‘All I’m asking for is a coroner to take notice and stop telling me it’s going to be another six months.’
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your doctor, a health professional or trusted friend.
Jessica Huggard (right) is pictured with a protective arm around her brother Luke when they were children
Luke Huggard’s (pictured) body was never found and there has been no inquest so he has not been declared legally dead and his family can’t farewell him properly with a funeral
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