Talented Plymouth footballer took his life to escape debts
THE family of a talented footballer have blamed the "lure of online gambling" for trapping him in a vicious circle which only ended when he leapt 150ft to his death.
Adam Billing was found at the foot of Moorswater Viaduct in Liskeard on April 11 shortly after he sent agonised text messages to his family saying he was sorry.
An inquest in Truro yesterday recorded a verdict that he had taken his own life.
Afterwards, his heartbroken mother, Karen, father, Bill, and sister, Shelley, paid tribute to a young man whose life was ruined by gambling.
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They said Adam, a former Liskeard, Dobwalls and Plymouth Argyle footballer, had "lived his life to the full, packing more into his 27-years than most of us would in a whole lifetime."
However, they said their fun loving "joker" had been left depressed by a knee injury which hindered his sporting achievements and an assault in which his ear had been bitten off.
"It is our opinion that Adam turned to online gambling after a number of personal circumstances left him at a low ebb and made him vulnerable to the lure of online gambling," said Mrs Billing, on behalf of the family.
"Unfortunately, within a few weeks, Adam became caught in a vicious circle and could not see a way out."
Mrs Billing told how "vast amounts of money could be easily lost, just by clicking a button.
She said: "Those who gamble get embroiled, not acknowledging they are losing real money."
The inquest heard that Adam had previously suffered from depression and had attempted an overdose.
However, his family said that after meeting his girlfriend, Jenny Dodds, he appeared happier than ever.
In the days before his death, Miss Dodds said he seemed pale, unwell and unable to sleep. On the morning of April 11, she received a number of text messages from her boyfriend, saying "I love you so much," then a few minutes later, "going to sleep now" and then "night" despite the fact it was the middle of the morning.
A few hours later he sent another text saying he had done "something stupid" and that he believed he was a burden to his family.
Meanwhile, his mother received a worrying text and tried unsuccessfully to ring his mobile.
She then received a text saying: "I'm so sorry mum. I have let you all down again."
Adam ran a building business with his friend Leon Caers, who in a statement said he discovered payments of around £10,000 had been transferred from the company account to his friend's personal account.
"For whatever reason Adam had been drawn into a cycle of gambling that became more and more costly to him and he felt he couldn't approach me or anyone else for help," said Mr Caers.
A fundraising day held in Mr Billing's memory raised more than £8,000 for Cornwall Air Ambulance.