Leigh Hinkley’s widow breaks silence after Melbourne man takes his own life
A grieving young mother has spoken courageously about her landscape architect partner’s struggle with drug addiction and depression that led to his taking his own life.
Friends knew Leigh Hinkley, 30, from Melbourne, as a devoted family man who loved to make everyone smile. But his good-natured personality hid personal demons.
Leigh, a father of two young boys, Patrick, three, and six-month-old Harrison, died by suicide on February 21.
That’s prompted his partner of eight, Whitley Fleet, to open up about the importance of checking in to make sure family and friends are okay — especially men who “have a hard time expressing their feelings.”
Ms Fleet was the last person Leigh spoke to hours before his body was found in south-east Melbourne.
“It’s something you don’t wish on anyone,” Ms Fleet told Daily Mail Australia.
“My world has been turned upside down.”
Leigh Hinkley (right) took his own life in February. He is survived by his longtime partner Whitney and young sons Patrick and Harrison
She had noticed troubling signs a week earlier that Leigh wasn’t himself and tried in vain to persuade him to open up to her.
Ms Fleet will never forget her last call just before 7pm on February 20th. “I was the last person Leigh spoke to,” she recalls.
“He sent me a goodbye message, which was really upsetting.
“I called him to tell him everything was fine and asked where he was.”
“But he refused where he was and kept saying he was sorry. That was pretty much it.’
The next morning, Ms Fleet received a phone call telling her to go to the police station.
“I went down because I thought he’d be there,” she said.
“The first thing I wanted to do was hug him and tell him that I and the boys loved him.”
“When they sat me down and said he had died, I fell to the ground. I couldn’t believe it and was in shock for the next few days.”
Whitney Fleet and Leigh Hinkley (pictured) dated for eight years
Leigh (pictured with partner Whitney and son Patrick) battled depression and drug addiction
She described Mr Hinkley as caring and always up for a joke and a laugh.
“He has always been known as a funny and quick-witted person who wanted to make everyone smile,” said Ms. Fleet.
“But his whole life was marked by sadness.
“He lost his mother when he was three years old, so he was traumatized by the loss and other things that happened during his childhood.”
Mr. Hinkley struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues for 10 years.
“He would hide it from me or lie about it and would never tell me or anyone how he feels,” Ms Fleet said.
“In the end, the depression was too much for him and it tipped him over the edge.”
Hours before his death, Mr Hinkley posted heartbreaking final messages to his family on Facebook.
“You will never understand how much I love you Whitney, even though I’ve hurt you, lied to you, stolen from you and destroyed everything,” he wrote
“I’m sorry you never deserved this. i love you bubby I can not live without you.’
Leigh Hinkley uploaded a harrowing final post to his partner hours before his death
A year ago, Leigh Hinkley and his partner were preparing for the birth of their second child
Ms Fleet is currently focused on raising her two boys and teaching them that it is okay to express their feelings.
“I want them to grow up and tell me how they’re feeling and not have to keep it to themselves all the time,” she said.
More than 150 people attended Mr Hinkley’s funeral last week, where mourners were urged to make a donation to the mental health support organization Beyond Blue in lieu of flowers.
Friends have described Mr Hinkley as one of the funniest people they have ever met.
“What a man, what a character, you always made me laugh bro. You will be missed my many and never forgotten,” wrote a pal.
Another friend added: “My heart aches knowing that I will never speak to you again, that you will not see your boys grow up and that we have lost you Leigh bear. You will always have a special place in my heart. I’m sorry you thought this world wasn’t for you.”
Friends and family have gathered around Ms Fleet and set up an online fundraiser to help ease the financial burden while she mourns.
“Leigh was her main breadwinner because Whitney was a stay-at-home mom. All money raised will be used for funeral expenses, rent and bills, food for the family and essential supplies for the boys.
Leigh Hinkley (right) also posted heartbreaking final messages to sons Patrick (left) and Harrison
Whitney Fleet (right) was the last person to speak to her partner Leigh (left) before he died
The fundraiser, started by Ms Fleet’s best friend’s mother, has raised nearly $14,000 so far.
“Before all of this happened I was planning to get back to work for the next few months to help with the bills,” Ms Fleet said.
“The support has been incredible. It means I may need a few more months to process what happened.’
She is now urging others struggling with mental health issues not to be ashamed to speak their minds.
“Get help and reach out to everyone,” she said.
“Mental health is a major problem, especially among men who find it difficult to express their feelings.”
If you or someone you know needs assistance, contact Lifeline 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
Whitney hopes sharing Leigh’s story (pictured with son Patrick) will inspire others battling inner demons to speak out and seek help
Leigh Hinkley struggled with drug addiction and depression for at least ten years
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11855721/Leigh-Hinkleys-widow-breaks-silence-Melbourne-man-took-life.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Leigh Hinkley’s widow breaks silence after Melbourne man takes his own life