Two brothers who died within three weeks of each other 'hanged themselves as part of chain of suicides that also claimed Love Island's Sophie Gradon and her distraught boyfriend' say relatives

17 July 2018 - 08:22

  • EXCLUSIVE: Two brothers found hanged within three weeks of each other were close friends with Love Island star Sophie Gradon and her boyfriend, both also though to have taken their own lives, MailOnline can reveal
  • Grieving father of Darryl and Dylan Smith say the suicides have rocked their town and left him feeling 'numb'
  • Brothers grew up with Sophie and Aaron Armstrong in Blyth, Northumberland, Billy Smith said last night
  • Their father said more must be done to help people who may be suffering with mental health problems

Two brothers who were found hanged within three weeks of each other were close friends of tragic Love Island star Sophie Gradon and her boyfriend, who also took their own lives in a chain of suicides that has devastated their home town, the siblings' grieving father said last night.

Darryl and Dylan Smith grew up with Sophie and her partner Aaron Armstrong – and all four died in suspected suicides in the past month, shattered Billy Smith told MailOnline.

Billy spoke out to highlight what he called a 'culture' of young people who don't open up about their mental health battles.

'Things need to change,' the devastated father said.

'Numb': Grief-stricken Billy Smith (second right) told of his pain after his sons Dylan, left, and Darryl, second left, were found hanged within three weeks of each other. Pictured right: Mr Smith's other son Liam.


Sophie's death, thought to be a suicide, garnered hundred of tributes before she was laid to rest in her native Newcastle. Pictured: Aaron and Sophie together 

Sophie's death, thought to be a suicide, garnered hundred of tributes before she was laid to rest in her native Newcastle. Pictured: Aaron and Sophie together 


Friends, family and boyfriend Aaron gathered to say goodbye to 'beautiful Sophie' at her funeral.

Posting on social media in the run-up to his death, Aaron made reference to seeing Sophie again, writing: 'I will never stop loving u and my heart will be yours until the day I join you I will see u very soon my angel so keep are bed warm for me'


Aaron posted a heartfelt message to his tragic girlfriend Sophie (seen on Love Island) on Instagram before he died
Aaron posted a heartfelt message to his tragic girlfriend Sophie on Instagram before he died

Right: Aaron posted a heartfelt message to his tragic girlfriend Sophie (seen left on Love Island) on Instagram before he died

Billy told how his son Darryl, 27, was found dead at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, on June 13.

Just a week later Love Island's Sophie, 32, a contestant on the show in 2016, also died, at her parents' home in nearby Medburn after a battle with anxiety. At the time friends said she had spiralled into 'a dark place' after the death of 'a close friend'.

On July 10, Sophie's distraught boyfriend Aaron Armstrong was found dead at his home in Blyth after writing 'I will see u very soon my angel' on social media.

Then on Sunday, Dylan Smith, Darryl's younger brother, was found dead aged 22, days after telling mourners his brother was his 'best friend, brother and father figure'.

The tragic four all grew up together in Blyth and were close friends.


Dylan, pictured at Darryl's funeral, described his brother as his 'best friend, brother and father figure'
Barber Darryl Smith (left), who died aged 27, was buried less than three weeks ago. His brother Dylan (right) died at the weekend.

Dylan (pictured at Darryl's funeral, left) described his brother as his 'best friend, brother and father figure'. Barber Darryl , who died aged 27, was buried less than three weeks ago. Right image: Darryl, left, and Dylan, right.


Sophie Gradon pictured with her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong. Devastated friends paid tribute to the pair after both are believed to have taken their own lives within weeks of each other.

Speaking at his home in Blyth last night, Mr Smith said: 'They'd known each other all of their lives.

'It's simply tragic they have all died within such a short space of time.

'These deaths highlight the fact there is a mental health epidemic among young people.

'They were both lovely lads, friendly and well respected in the area.'

Yesterday Mr Smith's heartache was compounded when he received the news that youngest son Dylan had also been found hanged.

He added: 'I just thought, not again.

'It's difficult to explain how I feel. At the moment I feel numb. It is absolutely gutting.'

Aaron, 25, was discovered dead at his family home, three weeks later after attending the funeral of Darryl, who was engaged and had a four-year-old daughter, Keevah. He was also reeling from finding Sophie's body at her parents' home on June 22.

In the days before his own death, boxer Aaron made reference to seeing Sophie again on a post on social media, writing: 'I will never stop loving u and my heart will be yours until the day I join you I will see u very soon my angel so keep are bed warm for me'.

Former Miss GB Sophie won a legion of fans on the second season of Love Island in 2016 when she found love with Thomas Powell, with whom she famously had sex in a wardrobe.

Police are not treating the deaths of Sophie and Aaron as suspicious.

After the death of Darryl, who ran a barbers in Blyth, more than £9,000 was raised towards his funeral, with a horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin through the streets of Blyth

As we told yesterday, his family were left 'absolutely broken' when Dylan died at the weekend.

And now the brothers' father is calling for more help to be available for young people struggling with mental health problems.


Darryl with his surviving brother Liam at school together. The brothers were close friends with Sophie and Aaron.

Darryl with his surviving brother Liam at school together. The brothers were close friends with Sophie and Aaron.


The family of the two brothers have been left devastated by their death. Pictured: Darryl (top right) Liam (bottom left) Jaime Lee (left) and Dylan
Darryl with his mother Mandy.

The family of the two brothers have been left devastated by their death. Pictured: Darryl (top right) Liam (bottom left) Jaime Lee (left) and Dylan. Right: Darryl with his mother Mandy.

Billy Smith, a yard foreman, said: 'There needs to be more help out there. The problem is it's not spoken about.

'It's a cultural thing, especially among young men, they do not open up.

'Things need to change. Schools should teach about mental health more, and young people should be encouraged to open up.

'I would not wish what we are going through right now on anyone.'

Billy was working away from home in Preston, Lancashire, when he received a phonecall from a relative to say that Darryl, had been found dead.

'They were both lovely lads, friendly and well respected in the area.'

After Dylan's death, an outpouring of tributes flooded social media.

One, from his brother Liam, read: 'Words cannot describe how I feel to lose you as well. Give Darryl a hug from me.'



Source: daily mail
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