"My son was beautiful inside and out whether he was Adam or Candie": Mother's tribute to Northampton drag artist

Adam Richards was also known as his persona Candie Van Cartier.
Adam Richards was also known as his persona Candie Van Cartier.

The mother of a Northampton drag artist who took his own life last year has paid tribute to her "beautiful" son.

Adam Richards - also known as his persona Candie Van Cartier - passed away in October last year despite the efforts of police officers who rushed to save his life.

Adam's mother said her son "was beautiful inside and out".

Adam's mother said her son "was beautiful inside and out".

But at his inquest yesterday (May 10), the coroner heard how Adam's mother believes mental health centre Campbell House "failed" to help her son with his depression and "gender issues".

In a statement read out by the coroner, Adam's mother Sandra Gilbert said: "My son was beautiful inside and out whether he was Adam or Candie.

"I had a close relationship with my son... When he was Candie he was happy and outgoing. When he was Adam, he could be sad and insular but still have his good days."

The inquest heard how Adam discovered a talent for make-up when he was 16 and was "always fabulous" as his persona Candie.

But he also suffered from periods of very low moods. On one occasion months before his death, Adam was verbally abused at a costume party he attended as Candie that led to him calling a crisis team with thoughts of hurting himself.

Then, in October last year, his mother received a text reading: "It's not your fault, sorry".

Mrs Gilbert rang the police, who rushed to his home and found him hanged in his bedroom.

Despite receiving immediate CPR and being rushed to hospital, Adam died four days later.

A charity cabaret evening held in Candie's memory at Northampton nightclub the Boston raised over £1,000 for mental health and gender dysphoria charities.

But in her statement, Mrs Gilbert also told the coroner: "I feel Campbell House [who was treating Adam] failed my son... [they did not help him with] his depression and his gender issues. If they had, I feel I would still have by beautiful with me today."

Adam's psychiatrist, Dr Farhana Omer, told the inquest Adam's death was "a tragic loss".