THE founder of one of the best-known campaign groups has said he hears of four dads taking their own lives over child access issues every month.

Fathers 4 Justice founder Matt O'Connor spoke to The Mail following an inquest into the death of Jamie Bull from Barrow.

Mr Bull, 36, was found dead at his Biggar Garth flat on March 5.

An inquest last week heard how he had battled with mental health issues for a number of years but his girlfriend Stephanie Clayton said child access issues 'was the number one reason he was feeling the way he was' before he died.

"Access was stopped before Christmas; he was meant to have them on Christmas Day but she stopped that and after that his problems just spiralled," she added.

Following the inquest Fathers 4 Justice founder Matt O'Connor spoke about the increased risk of suicide in dads who face obstacles in seeing their children.

"We know that suicide in fathers being prevented from seeing their kids is a real issue," he told The Mail.

"We hear of four a month but that's just the tip of the iceberg."

Mr O'Connor set up Fathers 4 Justice in 2001. The campaign group uses high-profile stunts to garner media coverage to highlight the lack of fathers' rights in the UK.

Speaking of Mr Bull's death Mr O'Connor said: "It's an appalling and tragic loss of life.

"Unfortunately if you're a dad and you suffer mental health issues then Social Services and the Family Court use that against you and there is no help.

"The default position is that if a dad has mental health issues they will stop contact.

"If a dad is experiencing problems it's used against them but the same doesn't seem to apply to mums.

"It's like Animal Farm - some animals are more equal than others."

Mr O'Connor founded Fathers 4 Justice after finally gaining access to his three children but he has continued to campaign for other dads.

"Dads should be treated as equals but they're not and we'll continue to fight for that to be changed," he added.