Popular teen may have been anxious about hacking probe, inquest hears
- Credit: Archant
A "loving and caring" Haverhill teenager who struggled with his mental health may have been anxious about a police investigation at the time of his death, an inquest has heard.
Kieran O'Brien, who was 19 when he died on June 28, 2020, had been asked to give evidence in the case concerning the hacking of an account of his.
Mr O'Brien worked in a local Sainsbury's store and was described by his mother Debbie as "loving and caring" and "happy most of the time".
Ms O'Brien said that her son had struggled with being bullied when he was younger and had struggled at school with suspected autism.
Despite this, she said he was very popular locally and his death had prompted hundreds of messages to his family from well wishers who also lined the streets to say goodbye on the day of his funeral.
In the days leading up to his death, Mr O'Brien was found by his sister on the floor at the family's home in Haverhill, having tried to strangle himself.
His stepfather carried out CPR on him before emergency services arrived.
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Mr O'Brien was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital where he remained for 10 days.
However, he was unable to recover from the injuries and died on June 28.
The inquest heard that Mr O'Brien had struggled with his mental health and had previously tried to overdose.
At the time of his death, Mr O'Brien was helping assist Suffolk police with an enquiry after an account of his was hacked into.
In the hours before his death, he was asked to give evidence against the alleged hacker, a former friend.
Ms O'Brien told the inquest that her parents believed that Mr O'Brien had been threatened by those involved in the case.
The inquest heard from DC Pete Gray from Suffolk police that the Independent Office for Police Conduct had been notified of Mr O'Brien's death and had launched an investigation.
It found no signs of misconduct in his case.
Coroner Jacqueline Devonish said that it was likely, however, that Mr O'Brien would have been anxious about the giving of evidence and the police investigation at the time of his death.
"I do believe there would have been fear from him," said Ms Devonish.
She said that there was no way police would have known how their request would have impacted on him.
Ms Devonish said that Mr O'Brien's death had been "impulsive" and recorded a verdict of suicide.
• Anyone needing help or support should call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. The Stay Alive app on Apple & Android is available to download.