Reverend Richard Coles confirms late partner died of alcoholism: ‘It’s like he was seized by a demon’

Patrick Kelleher
·2-min read

Reverend Richard Coles has said his late partner David Coles died as a result of alcoholism.

Richard and David Coles lived together in the village of Finedon where they both served as Church of England vicars until David passed away in December 2019.

At the time, Richard simply said his partner had died following “a long illness”, but he has now clarified that David fought a long battle with alcoholism that led to his death.

“Anyone who has loved an addict and lived with an addict will know how tough it is,” Richard Coles told BBC Radio Northampton.

Richard said David was “probably” already an alcoholic when they met in 2007, saying he “always had an enthusiastic fondness for alcohol”.

“An enthusiastic fondness for alcohol when you’re 20 or 25 is one thing, when you’re 35 or 40 it’s another thing and his drinking just got out of control,” he said.

Richard Coles’ partner David used alcohol as an ‘anaesthetic’ for life

Richard Coles said his partner David used alcohol as an “anaesthetic” when life was difficult, but the situation began to worsen as time went by.

“People used to talk about the ‘demon drink’ which sounds like a rather melodramatic way to describe it, but it is like someone is seized by a demon and when David was at his worst he was really difficult and it was very tough,” Richard said.

I just sat with people who were going through the same thing I was going through and that made a huge difference.

Richard said he had shied away from discussing David’s addiction to alcohol in the past because his partner was “deeply ashamed” of the problem during his lifetime.

The vicar opened up about his decision to join an Alcoholics Anonymous support group for loved ones of alcoholics, saying it was a “lifesaver”.

“I just sat with people who were going through the same thing I was going through and that made a huge difference,” he said.

Richard went on to reflect on the “overwhelming” public response to David’s death in 2019. While he received countless heartfelt messages, he also received vicious letters telling him David was his hell.

“Horrible letters came, but actually they were like paper darts because the real pain was that David was no longer there,” he said.