A heartbroken great-granddad killed himself following the loss of his two-year-old granddaughter who tragically died after swallowing a remote-control battery.

The deceased man, 79-year-old Peter Nicklin, had struggled to ‘cope’ with the death of his beloved granddaughter, Harper-Lee Fanthorpe, who died in May after she swallowed the button battery.

Nicklin’s son Darren – Harper-Lee’s granddad – said his father wasn’t able to attend the toddler’s funeral as he’d told his family it would "finish him off".

"He loved life. He loved it," said Darren. "We never thought he’d have it in him."

"You saw the change in him. He went from happy-go-lucky, one of the lads, to he just wasn’t himself. We can’t believe he’s done it."

"He just changed when our Harper passed. He couldn’t cope with it."

"People that age, they can’t cope with losing youngsters, they can’t cope. The day after, he said, ‘Why didn’t they take me instead of her?’ He just couldn’t cope with it."

Darren said the devastating news of his father’s death came just as the rest of the family was beginning to get over the untimely death of Harper-Lee, reported Stoke Sentinel.

"We were getting a bit of normality, focusing," he said. "He just wouldn’t talk about it. I think he bottled everything up. We’re devastated."

"I think he was thinking about it all the time. He stopped going down to the allotment. He was just sitting in the house."

"I think it just kept running through his head."

Nicklin was found dead on Aug. 15 at his home in Hanley, Staffordshire. An investigation into the matter was initiated, and a court on Friday, Sept.10, heard that the devastated great-grandfather hanged himself to death.

"He loved all his grandkids. He was very family-oriented," Darren recalled.

"He mellowed as he got older, especially with the grandkids, because we had a fairly strict upbringing, but he mellowed over the years."

Born in Stoke, Nicklin had worked for bricklayers and on the motorways. He was also a well-known character around some of his local pubs. 

"He was one of the lads. A hard worker. They knew him round Hanley as ‘The Beard’. He was a character. He was well known up Hanley in the Coachmaker’s and Wetherspoon’s," Darren said.

Nicklin is survived by his wife Pauline, as well as Darren and his other two children, Carl and Claire.
 

grandfather Representation image. Pixabay.