The devastated dad of a 23-year-old woman who took her own life in Magaluf has paid an emotional tribute to his “amazing girl with a heart of gold”.
Danielle Finlay Brookes was found dead by friends at her apartment on the Punta Ballena strip in Mallorca on May 19 last year.
She was due to celebrate her 24th birthday just days later.
This week an inquest in Warrington concluded that Danielle, who was known as Dani, died as a result of a suicide, Cheshire Live reports.
Her father Michael Finlay Brookes, who is known as Fin, paid tribute to his daughter and spoke about his memories of her including karaoke nights and her 23rd birthday.
He said: “What can I say about Dani? People who say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, it’s totally true, everything about it.
“Dani was my steel girder, all the way through life since she was born when I was 23. She had turned into a beautiful young lady and she was brainy.
“Dani was the type of person who would do anything for anyone. I’ve heard that many stories about when people she knew were feeling low in Magaluf.
“Dani would be the first person on the phone saying ‘get ready, I’ll come and pick you up’ and she’d just take them out for a few drinks to cheer them up.
“She was just the life and soul of the party. She was beautiful inside and out. I know every dad says that but she was, she really was.
“She was just an amazing girl with a heart of gold. I miss her so much, I really do. It’s heart-breaking. I really do feel like I’ve lost my best mate.”
Fin and Dani used to go to karaoke nights together, including at The Talbot in Nantwich, and he shared a video of her singing Fergie’s hit Big Girls Don’t Cry.
He said: “She was a beautiful singer Dani as well. I loved her singing on karaoke, I was just so proud. She brought tears to my eyes when she sung Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
As well as being a talented singer, she also briefly appeared in a scene of the BBC’s hit sitcom Citizen Khan.
Dani had grown up in the Crewe area but had moved to Magaluf to work as a bartender, something Fin said she had long been thinking of doing, and he said she had been “loving it”.
He fondly remembered the time he went over to the Spanish tourist hotspot last year to visit Dani on her 23rd birthday.
He said: “It was meant to be a surprise but a couple of people let the cat out of the bag.
“She said the words to me ‘dad, this is the best birthday ever, thank you’. It made me go all gooey that she just loved me being there and she hated me leaving.”
The pair were so close that they even had ‘his and hers’ shot glasses – Fin still has his but Dani’s was placed in the coffin with her “so she could take it with her”.
Fin added: “A lot of people have said they couldn’t believe how close we both were. We were like best mates.”
After Dani’s death, the family struggled to get her body flown back to the UK as she had contracted COVID a couple of months earlier and Fin said the Spanish authorities could not find her medical records.
This meant that he was facing the possibility of flying over to Magaluf, where she would be cremated, before isolating for two weeks, flying back to the UK and isolating again before “even thinking about organising a service”.
He thanked the British press for helping to publicise his situation, which he said helped put pressure on the Spanish authorities to repatriate Dani to the UK.
During the inquest in Warrington, it was revealed that Dani had been diagnosed with anxiety and had attempted an overdose seven years earlier.
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According to a statement from her mum Mandy, which was read out by area coroner Claire Welch, Dani had appeared “happy” and “content” during a night out shortly before her death.
She had been sending videos to her step-mum Lisa and speaking to her over WhatsApp making plans for a hot-tub night to celebrate her forthcoming 24th birthday.
Dani is buried behind Crewe Crematorium and her headstone reads: “Loving daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece who grew her angel wings.”