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Barrow Asperger’s teen’s web suicide threat

A BARROW teenager found hanged in a hostel had written on Facebook that he tried to kill himself, an inquest heard.

S82131B.jpg ashley leo

Ashley Jake Keenan, 18, was found dead in Silverdale Street hostel, Barrow.

He lived there for a couple of months before his sudden death on July 2.

The inquest into the former Furness Academy pupil’s death heard he had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

The pathologist’s report showed levels of cannabis and mephedrone, commonly known as plant food, in his system.

Mum Amanda Morris told yesterday’s hearing in Barrow Town Hall she was still seeing her son on a regular basis, but not in the week before his death.

Mr Keenan had not responded well to the news his grandmother was to have chemotherapy, the inquest heard.

He had also been in a relationship which had just ended.

Mrs Morris said: “He used to harm himself as a child.

“He didn’t draw blood or anything, but he always threatened to kill himself from the age of five.

“The Friday before (he died), he put on Facebook he was cutting his wrists and on the Saturday he put: ‘Tried to kill myself last night. Didn’t work, might try again tonight’.”

Staff at the hostel, which does not allow drugs on site, were working with Mr Keenan to tackle issues such as his drug use and anger.

Amy Bower, project worker at the hostel, called an ambulance when she found Mr Keenan dead.

She described him as “just his normal self” when she saw him the night before, and added: “He was a lovely young man.

“It was sometimes difficult to get his attention – he wanted to be elsewhere with his mates.

“But I started to build up quite a good working relationship with him.”

Sharon Hogg, the hostel project manager, believed Mr Keenan had not been himself.

She said: “My personal perception is he seemed a bit edgy and, not angry as such, but I was getting these feelings and other staff members were as well.”

Mr Ian Smith, South and East Cumbria coroner, accepted Mr Keenan hanged himself.

But he recorded the verdict that he died as a consequence of his own actions while under the influence of drugs and suffering from Asperger’s syndrome.

Following the inquest, Mrs Morris paid tribute to her son and said she felt there needed to be changes in the awareness of young people with mental health disorders.

Mrs Morris, 39, of Keith Street, Barrow, said: “Ashley was lovely. When he was good, he was really good.

“He was loving and caring. He was very intelligent and he was a popular lad.

“He was the best child you could wish for, but obviously he had problems. He will always be missed.”

Mrs Morris said her son was not diagnosed with Asperger’s until he was 15, even though she and teachers knew there were problems from an early age.

She said: “I hope the awareness of Asperger’s comes out of this.

“I’ve been fighting for my son since he was seven, why should it take eight years?

“If you think there is something wrong with your children you must shout and scream about it.”

Have your say

its sad i know how every one of you feels. My child has waited years for help.All you get of school is there educational sound, been picked on at play times/standing alone isnt looked into as long as there ok in classroom. cahms team fob you off with its a parenting problem, or dont contact you back as they have no one to deal with it-as they put it.
educational phycologists take 6 mths plus to complete there report- how you can write a report on a kid that you seen 6mths ago i dont know, i couldnt remember a kid in detail over that period after meeting them once. 5 years roughly and have gotten no where. you reach a point where you just give up with the system and cope by yourself.

Posted by anon on 17 October 2012 at 17:01

Robert thank you for having the courage to stand up and explain what it is like for our children to have Aspergers. It is only through the bravery of adult aspies like yourself that conditions will change. Don't despair you have such a lot to offer and parents like myself can really learn from people like yourself.Thank you.

Posted by Yvonne Frost on 15 October 2012 at 15:47

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