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Book release gives mum closure over son's suicide
A MOTHER last night said she was “joyous” as the book her son spent years writing is finally published – six years after his suicide.
Luke Bitmead, who lived in Summertown, Oxford, died in October 2006 after jumping from a multi-storey car park.
Last year, the NHS apologised for allowing the former Radley College pupil to leave Swindon’s Great Western Hospital shortly before his death.
Mr Bitmead, 36 when he died, had spent five years writing his first novel, The Body is His Temple, but struggled to get it published.
His mother Elaine Hanson said she now felt able to grieve properly for her son and start celebrating his life.
Mrs Hanson said: “This was a book he wrote when he returned from living in Hong Kong and Thailand.
“He didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted to write. So he did. But he just couldn’t get anyone to publish it.
“For years we had this awful thing of having to go over and over how Luke died, but suddenly we felt much lighter.
“I could start to celebrate his life.”
Mr Bitmead, who worked in the Blockbusters shop in Summertown, did see one of his novels, White Summer, published during his lifetime.
But in 2006, his mental health began to deteriorate.
He took a drug overdose in October.
An inquest in 2010 heard how after being admitted to hospital, Mr Bitmead was allowed to discharge himself.
He then got a taxi to a multi-storey car park where he jumped to his death.
Last night, Mrs Hanson said: “For years I would lie awake thinking about it.”
His family have since turned Luke’s memory into a force for good and launched the Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary shortly after his death.
It has provided funding for four talented budding authors and opportunities for dozens of others.
All the royalties from the sales of Mr Bitmead’s books go to the memorial fund and the bursary.
The Body is His Temple will be released on Friday, June 1.