Issued on 1/12/17 at 3:42 p.m.
The parents of Matthew Birkinshaw released the following statement.
“It is impossible to put into words the effect the loss of Matthew has had on our family. He was everything to us and he has left a space no-one else can ever fill. We miss him every day and struggle to picture a life without him in it. We know nothing will ever be the same for us and the weight of that grief is heavy to bear.
"Matthew was our younger son. He was thoughtful, sensitive, generous and compassionate with a brilliant sense of humour and a big heart. His bellowing laugh was something we'll always remember. He lived with us for most of his life and we saw him every day. We were a tight family of four and Matt shared everything with us, Christmases, birthdays, holidays, losses and grief, good times and bad. We were always there for each other. He was loved by all his family and many friends who knew what a truly special person he was.
"It has become clear to us during this process how many people consider suicide without ever displaying any signs even to those closest to them. It has been heartbreaking to hear how when Matt needed kindness and support, he met someone who wanted to do him harm.
"Can we send this message to anyone else who may be struggling with these feelings; there are people you can speak to who have your best interests at heart. If not a family member or close friend, then one of the agencies out there who can offer support. If you try to face this alone, you become more vulnerable, as our son was. There are people who love you and would be devastated by your loss. If this message averts one tragedy, it will mean that something positive has come out of the death of such a beautiful and much-loved son.
"It has been the longest, hardest, saddest and most traumatic two years of our lives. We know we must try not to dwell on the future our son will never have and the grandchildren we will never see, but to accept what has happened without hatred and to stand by Matthew with dignity and love. We are just an ordinary family who has found itself in extraordinary circumstances and we ask please now this trial is over, to be allowed space to grieve for our son in privacy.
"Finally we would like to thank the prosecution team and particularly the Leicestershire Police for their hard work in bringing this case to court and for the sensitivity of their support throughout this very difficult process."