A reality TV star who once appeared in a pop video with Myleene Klass hanged himself because he was depressed about being SHORT, his family claimed yesterday.
Tragic 5ft 7ins-tall Jonathan McNally, 27, had signed up to appear on Birmingham’s answer to The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) in May this year.
But an inquest heard the pint-sized personal trainer was found hanged in a friend’s garden on June 1 and died after slipping into a coma at Heartlands Hospital on June 7.
Senior Coroner for the City of Birmingham and the Borough of Solihull, Louise Hunt, recorded a verdict of suicide on Tuesday.
Speaking after the inquest, Jonathan’s family said the father-of-one had suffered from depression since he became conscious of his height aged 15.
His sister Gina McNally, 23, said: “He had issues with his height from a young age.
“All through school he was tiny and had tests which showed he was behind by about two years.
“He was depressed from a young age about it.
“But he eventually shot up and was around 5ft 7ins.
“Other things added to the way he felt. All this should have been picked up from when he was a child, but it never was.”
The family – who don’t believe Jonathan intended to take his own life – are now calling for improvements in mental health services.
Gina, who lives in Sutton Coldfield, West Mids., said her brother had been given tablets for his depression but more could have been done.
She added: “Jon had gone to the doctors but all he got were tablets.
“He heard voices in his head. He wasn’t offered any counselling and I don’t think enough was done to help him or take care of his mental health issues. There was a lack of support.”
Jonathan’s older sister Leanne Harper, 32, who attended the inquest with brother Wayne, 36, and a third sister Jamie, 34, said: “We don’t think he wanted to commit suicide.
“He was up and down over the years but did his best to cover it up.”
His parents Micky, 49, and Lynn, 56, were too upset to attend the inquest but issued a statement saying: “We forgive Jon for what he did.
“It takes a brave person to do what he did, not a coward. We love and miss him loads.”
Jonathan, who lived in Shard End, Birmingham with his five-year-old daughter Lily Ann, auditioned to appear in a new Midlands-based reality show called The Project in May.
The show said it would offer a view of “city life for groups of ambitious friends in the Midlands with appearances from friends and celebrities throughout the UK”.
A statement added: “The show will be similar to TOWIE and Geordie Shore and is aimed at an ITV2 post-watershed audience.”
But work on the television production was halted after Jonathan died.
Nadine Lamore, one of the group members helping to set up The Project, said: “We were a massive group and we spent a lot of great times on holiday together in Ayia Napa.
“It’s in its really early stages but we wanted to set up this project to give people the chance to chase their dreams and Jon was going to be a really big part of that.
“We decided it wasn’t the right time at the moment to carry on. We want to give everything time to heal.
“We will all be doing it for Jon if we do get together.”
Super-fit Jonathan – who went to the gym every day – completed his army training after joining when he left school aged 16.
He then became a personal trainer and ran army boot camp weight loss sessions as well as working for a scaffolding company.
Jonathan had also appeared in a music video with Myleene Klass and had been approached by modelling agencies in the days before his death.
Paying tribute in June, his mum Lynn said: “He was clever, kind and put 100 per cent into everything he did.
“He would never give up until he got things perfect. We adored him.
“If we ever spoke even a few words to each other, he would tell me he loved me.
“All of his family loved him and he loved all of us back. He never had a bad word to say about anyone.”