Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Heartbreaking: What This Young Man Told His Friends Before He Killed Himself Will Tear You Up

The details of what a young man told his friends just before he killed himself by suffocation has jerked tears in readers.

A teenager messaged his friends saying ‘I’m sorry … I’m going to die’ before suffocating himself with a shopping bag at Reading Festival, an inquest heard.

Matthew Jones, 17, was found by friends in his sleeping bag with a plastic carrier bag over his head at the campsite last year.

Oxford Coroner’s Court head the youngster also sent a Snapchat message to pals, saying ‘I’m sorry’.

He also texted a friend ‘I’m going to die’ and had sent an earlier Snapchat message saying ‘Tell my friends and family it’s okay. I’m sorry’.

Matthew was discovered blue-faced in the sleeping bag inside his tent, when his friends returned from the final act of the evening at the festival site.

But Coroner Darren Salter was unsure whether the teenager intended to take his own life.

The court heard Matthew – who had suffered from moderate depression but was not deemed high risk – had taken recreational levels of ketamine and alcohol in the area before telling friends he wanted to return to the campsite.

Before leaving, he told one pal: ‘If I’m high, strangle me.’

He then walked off from the main stage area on his own at around 6pm.

The following morning, his friends followed him to the white zone camping area of the festival to discover the teenager’s inside the sleeping bag.

In a police report read out at the inquest, the boy’s friends said they had first thought he had been hiding as a joke.

But the sleeping bag was unzipped they found his face had turned blue and he was not breathing.

Despite desperate efforts to save his life, paramedics found that Matthew was pronounced dead at 2.17am on August 28 last year.

The toxicology report issued after the teenager’s death revealed he had 102mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system at the time, only just above the 80mg drink-drive limit, which would have left a normal social drinker moderately drunk.

It was also found that the level of ketamine in his system which was consistent with recreational use of the drug.

The inquest heard that the drug could have left Matthew in a dreamlike state or caused him to hallucinate.

Coroner Mr Salter said in an open conclusion that there was not enough evidence to show that the teenager had meant to take his own life.

However, the post mortem examination showed he had made such an attempt before, when he was aged 13 or 14.

The court heard had been feeling moderately depressed in the time leading up to the festival, due to a close friend’s death in June.

As a result of this event, a report by support worker Brian McDermott at Aquarius, who had met Matthew shortly after his friend’s accidental overdose, revealed he had been drinking three to six days a week as a result of the tragic loss.

One of Matthew’s close friends, Benjamin Allen, who discovered him in his tent when the group returned from the arena, said: ‘I know that Matthew has been quite badly depressed for a couple of years. I don’t think he has ever tried to kill himself before.

‘While we were at the festival, Matthew worryingly mentioned something about hanging himself. I thought he was joking or trying to be funny.’

Mr Allen said that after some members of the group, including Matthew, had taken ketamine, he had noticed his mood had changed significantly, and he said several times that he wanted to go back to the camp.

When the group returned at 1.55am and he entered Matthew’s tent but had not seen the teenager at first because his sleeping bag had been zipped shut.

He said: ‘Matthew lay on the floor on his side wearing the shorts he had on earlier. I couldn’t see his face because he had a white plastic bag covering his head.

‘I could see that Matthew’s face was blue. I had been shouting ‘wake up’ and got one of our friends to help perform CPR.’

Recording an open conclusion Mr Salter said: ‘I am satisfied that Mr Jones did voluntarily do the act which was to place a plastic bag over his head.

‘The cause of death was described as asphyxia by the pathologist.

‘I am not sufficiently sure that Mr Jones had fully formed an intent to take his own life so I am going to return an open conclusion which is the only appropriate conclusion in this case.

‘He may have suffered hallucinations, he may not have been able to form the intent to take his own life. I also cannot rule out that there was some form of attention seeking involved.’

Speaking after the inquest, Matthew’s grandmother, Nicolette Lethbridge, said: ‘He did not want to commit suicide, he just wanted somebody to help him.

‘Matthew was actually a very quiet person. I think the noise and the lack of sleep and the fact that his friend had died in June and his grandfather now dying horribly of dementia, may have affected him.

‘I think he wanted to be saved. I just don’t know why you would send emails if you wanted to commit suicide. The young children that he sent the emails to would not know what to do.’

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