Dad’s last hours in icy garden

Steven Ledgard, 50, of Whitwell Avenue, Elland who died on Christmas Eve
Steven Ledgard, 50, of Whitwell Avenue, Elland who died on Christmas Eve
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A FAMILY have paid tribute to their loving father who died after a night out.

Steven Ledgard – who was also a grandfather-of-four – died on Christmas Day.

The 50-year-old was found slumped in his frozen garden in sub-zero temperatures at around 2am by neighbours.

Mr Ledgard and his partner of six and a half years Lorraine Roberts had met family for a few drinks in Halifax town centre.

A taxi dropped them at home at Whitwell Avenue, Elland, around 9pm.

Later neighbour Ian Farrar overheard a “drunken argument” between the pair.

Father-of-two Mr Ledgard, a textile worker, dropped his keys in the garden and went to neighbour Andrew Todd asking for a torch.

After finding the keys, the couple went inside the house but Mr Ledgard left again shortly afterwards.

“I thought he’d gone to the neighbours, one of the family or the pub down the road,” said Mrs Roberts, through tears.

Mr Ledgard had gone round to his neighbour’s house taking a small bottle of Southern Comfort with him.

After watching him drink half the bottle, Mr Farrar told his neighbour to go home and sleep it off.

He watched him walk back towards his home and went to a friends house.

At around 2am, another neighbour Ian Farrar and his wife were woken by scratching noises.

They found Mr Ledgard slumped in his garden groaning and slurring his words. They tried to keep him warm until an ambulance arrived.

Mrs Roberts was woken by paramedics who told her they were struggling to find his pulse.

When he arrived at Calderdale Royal Hospital, his body temperature was 27C.

They continued to work on Mr Ledgard until around 6am on Christmas morning.

Pathologist Richard Knights said although he had been exposed to sub zero temperatures, his death was caused by pancreatitis, due to alcohol.

The cause of death was recorded as natural causes.

Son Daniel, 29, paid tribute to his father.

“He was a loving and caring father. He was always there if anyone needed him.

“He was a great grandfather.”

Daniel’s partner Shelley Wallace said: “Even now, our eldest who is two-and-a-half remembers him. He looks at pictures of him. He was a big part of his life.”

They said his death on Christmas Day was particularly hard.

“It was hard for everyone,” said Daniel.

“I don’t really remember anything about that morning.”

Daniel had to break the news to his twin sister Elaine.

Mrs Roberts’s daughter Hayley said: “I think we’ll all have a moment this Christmas where we’ll remember him.

“Christmas will never be the same again.

“He’s one of those peoplewho wouldn’t have wanted us to sit there and be miserable.”