The family of a “loving” father who taught young people how to ride a bike has paid tribute at an inquest into his death. 

Karl Hawes, of Dereham, spent 20 years working as a fitness instructor and had a passion for cycling. 

Although the 51-year-old faced struggles with social anxiety, he excelled in his role as a BikeAbility volunteer. 

Wisbech Standard: Norfolk Coroner's Court - Picture: Donna-Louise BishopNorfolk Coroner's Court - Picture: Donna-Louise Bishop (Image: Newsquest)

Days before his death, on September 8, 2022, he had been looking into university courses.

Speaking after the inquest, his sister-in-law, Nikki Clarson, said: "He had such a terrible sense of humour and would tell proper ‘dad jokes’. He also loved a good prank.” 

Her sister Laura Kolthammer, also Mr Hawes sister-in-law, added: “He was such an amazing dad. He did not have a bad bone in his body.” 

At the inquest into his death, held at Norfolk Coroner’s Courtat County Hall, Norwich, on March 8, the court heard that Mr Hawes underwent spinal surgery in 2010. 

This left him with ongoing nerve pain and physical difficulties.  

He had been a builder and a roofer, a job he is said to have “loved and excelled at”, but was unable to continue after surgery. His mental health deteriorated as a result. 

He separated from his wife in 2010, and they eventually divorced but remained amicable to raise their two children. 

Christopher Leach, assistant coroner, recorded a brief narrative conclusion that said the medical cause of death was suffocation. He added that Mr Hawes’s intention was "unknown at the time".

Karl Gerald Hawes was born on May 26, 1971, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. A student, he was found dead at his home at Captain Ford Way. 

  • For anyone affected by the issues raised in this article, Mr Hawes’ family has recommended visiting - a mental health charity.