Mum's heartache at tragic death of son
THE grieving mother of a young man who died suddenly at Christmas has spoken of her heartache at losing her son.
Martin Egan was just 34 when his body was discovered at his flat in Exeter on December 27.
His mother Kate Egan described receiving the news as a "thunderbolt" and said she is convinced he had been dead since before Christmas as several presents were left unwrapped.
And as she thanked the community for its incredible support, she told the Echo she still doesn't know what ended her son's life so early.
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"It is devastating for us to lose him," she added. "I thought I would be long gone before one of my children died. They are just starting out.
"There is just no preparation for it. He had diabetes but it was under control through the use of insulin and we thought he was just making his way in the world. The news came as a thunderbolt. It makes you realise how short life is.
"Everyone has been so supportive. I have so many cards I don't know how I am ever going to reply to all of them."
Describing the discovery of his body, Ms Egan, who lives in Ottery St Mary, said he did not contact or visit her on Christmas Day and would not reply to messages.
She added: "On Boxing Day I went to his flat but there was no response. His lights were left on and music was playing loudly. He was not the type to leave things like that. I called the police who attended and convinced me he had gone to the pub. The officers said they would go back in the morning. They broke in and found him dead.
"I don't know how long he had been dead for but I believe it was before Christmas Eve. He hadn't answered my phone calls."
Ms Egan said she is still not clear on the reason for her son's death but has been told it was a result of natural causes.
"We don't really know what happened at the moment," she added. "He had vomited so he could have had norovirus. We just don't know.
"We were not aware of any new health problems before his death and he had been managing his diabetes through insulin."
Martin was one of four siblings and the family moved to Ottery St Mary after leaving Ireland when he was four. He had attended Marist Convenant School in Ottery St Mary and lately Tiverton College. He qualified as a mechanic before working in several garages across Exeter.
He joined the Parachute Regiment in the army before taking a job at B&Q in Exeter. In the last few years of his life he got a job at Bestways food hall in Marsh Barton.
Despite his health issues Ms Egan said he had never been happier since he moved into his own flat three years ago.
"He was very into his mechanics and we used to call him the demolition expert when he was a kid," she added.
"He was really interested in cars and gadgets, was into nice food and drink and loved music.
"More recently he had come back to the church, which was very comforting from my point of view.
"He was hard working, conscientious and loyal. He loved living in Exeter and had never been happier.
"He finally had his independence."
But she described him as a "vulnerable young man" who because of his illness had faced many difficulties in life.
She added: "There is a long struggle to be housed if you are a vulnerable young man with issues. Martin had spent two to three years living in the flat on his own and he had never been happier. But he was already in his early 30s when St Loyes helped him to get a place of his own. There needs to be more of an understanding – but Martin just kept his head down.
"The employment situation is so poor, not just for teenagers and those in their 20s, but right up to 35. Martin was one of the lucky ones who eventually managed to be supported through his issues that enabled him to find a job he liked."