The 46-year-old got together with Billy, a cameraman, following her split from Norman Cook

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Our thoughts are with Zoe Ball after her 40-year-old boyfriend Billy Yates was found dead in his London home. The cause of death is suspected suicide.

Good luck #pudsey & whole team on #childreninneed @bbcone know everyone gives so generously 💜💜💜

A post shared by Zoe Ball (@zeebeezoobee) on

Four days after his death, the tragic details surrounding Billy’s final months have started to emerge.

Billy had been targeted by a well-known fraudster posing as an accountant, the Sun reported. Billy was apparently terrified at the thought of being left with an “enormous tax bill” and the situation was said to be putting him under “enormous pressure”.

Christopher Lunn, Billy’s accountant, was sentenced for tax evasion last year, leaving many high profile clients with huge bills.

After Lunn was sentenced the Tax Office said in a statement: “This investigation has already recovered £20million as Lunn’s former clients settle their tax liabilities, with more to come.”

This added pressure is thought to have been too much for an already fragile Billy to handle.

“Billy suffered from depression but the strain of being left with an unexpected tax bill hit him hard,” a friend of the deceased told the Sun.


If you or someone you know have been affected by depression, get in touch with the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org. Someone is there around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


“These sorts of things are a considerable concern for anyone — but it’s particularly tough when someone already has mental health issues to overcome.”

Despite his mental health deteriorating, Billy was seen just hours before his death at a local convenience store, “happy and smiling”.

Billy was found by a friend in his flat in Putney at 18.40 on Thursday 4th May. A Metropolitan Police spokesman told the Sun: “Officers attended alongside staff from the London Ambulance Service, and a man believed to be aged 40 was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The circumstances are not being treated as suspicious, and the coroner has been informed.”

Zoe, his girlfriend of six months, is said to be “completely and utterly devastated”.

The Strictly presenter was said to be ‘head-over-heels’ for Antiques Roadshow cameraman Billy. The pair got together following the breakdown of her relationship with DJ Norman Cook, with whom she has two children.

A close friend said: “Billy had made her happy again after the most horrendous year when her marriage broke down.

“This was completely out of the blue.  She had no feeling that this was coming and is in total shock.

“As far as we know this occurred at his house in London and it was friends who raised the alarm. She’s going to need a lot of time to grieve.

“This just feels so unfair because Zoe had finally found happiness with Billy and had so many exciting plans for their future.

Zoe shared this Instagram post last week following the news:

My sweet love X

A post shared by Zoe Ball (@zeebeezoobee) on

On Thursday Zoe also shared a Samaritans tweet, encouraging anyone going through a difficult period to contact the charity.

A source close to Zoe has also revealed that she would like to reach out to Billy’s family in the future.

“When the time is right, Zoe is keen to tell Billy’s parents how much she loved their son, and will miss him.

“He was clearly far more troubled than anyone knew, but they had many happier times together and his support was invaluable to her.

“She wants to share those memories with them, and she hopes it will help both them as they try to come to terms with what happened.”