Will Young tells inquest: caring for my brother became too much

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Singer says his twin, Rupert Young, had threatened or tried to take his own life on several occasions

Singer Will Young
Singer Will Young. Poplar coroner’s court was told that he and his twin brother had lived together intermittently for three years. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian
Singer Will Young. Poplar coroner’s court was told that he and his twin brother had lived together intermittently for three years. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

Last modified on Tue 15 Dec 2020 13.02 EST

Will Young has described how years spent caring for his twin brother, who struggled with depression and addiction, became too much and he eventually felt he had to get police involved. His brother died soon after.

The singer reportedly told an inquest he had become overwhelmed after his sibling, Rupert Young, threatened or tried to take his own life several times.

“I was a carer for him but it became too much. He could not look after himself and I did not believe he could look after his own life. I feel it is difficult for me. I am someone who is pretty in control over my emotional wellbeing. I am a functional adult. I have done a lot of work on myself,” Young told Poplar coroner’s court.

The hearing was told that Rupert died on 2 August this year after jumping from a bridge, the Times reported.

“Rupert struggled with depression and anxiety, I would say for 20 years,” the paper quoted Will Young as saying. “Over that time, more times than I can think of, there have been suicide attempts or suicide ideation. Most of the time ... it would be a cry for help. There were few times actually that he had gone full, full, full through with it.”

The court heard that Rupert Young had lived with his brother on and off for three years and had no other support system, the Times said. About a week before Rupert’s death, Will Young reported him to the police as a trespasser and he was removed from the house.

“I couldn’t live in the house any more. It had gone beyond my means and it was affecting my wellbeing,” the Daily Mirror quoted the singer as saying.

According to the paper, Will Young said the Covid-19 pandemic had had an effect on his brother’s state of mind because it meant that, as an animal lover, Rupert could no longer be around horses. He also cited the death of his brother’s dog and his problems with alcohol.

Asked what help he thought his brother needed, he said: “I think he needed professional help, 100%. Before shelter, or addiction services, 100%.”

The inquest continues.

• In the UK and Irish Republic contact Samaritans on 116 123 or email [email protected]. In the US the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

• This article was amended on 15 December 2020 to remove some details about the circumstances of Rupert Young’s death.