Schoolgirl sees dead father's face for first time - following Sheffield Star appeal

Sarah and Megan Knowles.
Sarah and Megan Knowles.
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A heartbroken schoolgirl has finally seen the face of the dead father she has never met for the first time - following an appeal in the Sheffield Star.

Megan Knowles was devastated when she found out for the first time last year that her dad David Hackleton had killed himself over a decade ago when she was just a baby.

David Hackleton.

David Hackleton.

The 14-year-old never met him as her mum Sarah had split up from him while she was still pregnant.

But the youngster was determined to track down any pictures of her father and to locate his final resting place.

Now, following an appeal for information in the Sheffield Star and a Facebook appeal that was shared over 700 times, a relative has come forward with pictures of David.

And crucially, Megan also now knows what happened to his body.

She posted on Facebook: "Honest tears of joy. I have for the first time ever seen my handsome, gorgeous dad.

"I could't be any prouder to call him my dad. I love you so much."

Mum Sarah told how she contacted her dad Philip to tell him about the public appeal and he managed to find some old pictures of David buried away among dozens of others on a computer file.

In addition, the Sheffield Star gave the family contact details for Sheffield Medico Legal Centre - which held David's inquest over 10 years ago - and staff revealed he was cremated at Barnsley Crematorium.

After further details were emailed to the family from anonymous people responding to the appeal, Sarah contacted someone who used to know David, who revealed that his ashes were sent to his mother after cremation.

Sarah, aged 32, of Barnsley, said: "We didn't even know about the pictures so that was a big find. Megan was speechless at first, seeing his face for the first time was a big thing for her.

"We want to say thank you to the Star and everyone else who has helped us."

She added that they are now trying to trace David's mum and Megan's grandmother - who is believed to live in Darton - so the youngster can visit to see the urn holding her father's remains.

Said Sarah: "We sadly lost touch but if she wants to contact us that would be really great."

An inquest heard in 2005 how David died after throwing himself in front of a train.

The court was told how the 27-year-old had been haunted by the fact that he failed to save his dying brother Phil Hurrell, aged 29, from cancer.

David was a perfect bone marrow match but had cut himself off from family after their parents divorced and they did not know where he lived.

Phil, of Doncaster, made a heartfelt appeal on a regional news programme and David called up out the blue saying he was living in Worsbrough, Barnsley.

But hopes of saving his brother were dashed when hospital tests revealed it was too late for the transplant and Phil died a short while after.

David, who lived in Darfield, Barnsley, later killed himself on a railway line in November 2004.

More than a decade later, Sarah told how daughter Megan had grown up believing another man whom she was in a long-term relationship with was her dad.

However, as she got older she started asking questions about why her dad's name was not on her birth certificate and Sarah revealed the truth.

Anyone who can help them is asked to email