Zoe Ball tried to help ex-boyfriend Billy Yates before killing himself, an inquest heard

(Getty, PA)
(Getty, PA)

It’s been revealed that Zoe tried to help her ex-boyfriend Billy Yates on several occasions, prior to taking his own life.

The TV and radio presenter, 47, has spoken about the struggle and subsequent heart-break over the death of her boyfriend, an inquest has heard.

Zoe was described by Billy’s family as the ‘love of his life’, after she’d paid for his to spend two weeks at The Priory out of concern for his well-being.

The inquest revealed that Antiques Roadshow cameraman Billy may not have intended to kill himself – despite trying to do so twice just weeks before his death.

It was also heard how he had previously crashed his car into a motorway barrier, during a panic attack back in 2016, having allegedly battled depression and alcoholism for a number of years.

Hearing how Billy was found dead in his home, it was revealed the day he was found: ‘He was lying face down wear a pair of dark jeans, there was discolouration in his face and he was very cold,’ friend of 15 years Brad Abbotts said.

Speaking on This Morning, Zoe said she wanted to remember him positively rather than how he died: ‘I think that’s one of the things I said, that part of it is that I wanted Billy’s memory to be more about who he was as an amazing man and not about how he died.’

‘It was such an amazing thing, I feel so grateful to do something for Billy, for his family and other people who have gone through this experience or are living with mental illness.

‘I was so moved by the support and people’s generosity from and I get messages from people every day. I wish I could reply to them all.’


The coroner ruled the cause of death as by asphyxiation by ligature. The family’s statement on the loss of Billy read:

‘William was known and loved by a great number of people and was a sweetheart to many.

‘He was in the Royal Marines until he broke his leg and opted out and left Lancashire and moved to Greece and worked on ‘Greece Uncovered’, which his parents were never allowed to see.

‘Working in TV, cast and crew knew that if Billy was on the job they would be having a good time.

‘That was where Billy met Zoe. They had a friendship and beautiful relationship, they were the love of each others life.

‘William lived his life in something of a whirlwind.’

Zoe and Billy were last seen when she helped him move into his new flat in February of last year, with the pair described as being ‘besotted’ by one another.

After splitting from ex-husband Norman Cook (aka Fat Boy Slim), it was said how Billy gave her a ‘new lease on life’, as the couple appeared very happy together despite only having been in a relationship for a few months.

‘Zoe couldn’t stop smiling and was very into him, they look great together, said one onlooker when the y were on a date night, according to the Mirror.

For further information on suicide prevention, click here. Or for someone to talk to, visit The Samaritans, here.

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