Teen found hanged inquest told

A TEENAGER was found hanging following a row with his girlfriend just two weeks after telling his mother he planned to marry, an inquest heard.Friends fought desperately to save 18-year-old Michael Mason, who wandered into woods near to his Haverhill home before attaching a noose to a tree, but he was declared dead at the scene by a police surgeon.

A TEENAGER was found hanging following a row with his girlfriend just two weeks after telling his mother he planned to marry, an inquest heard.

Friends fought desperately to save 18-year-old Michael Mason, who wandered into woods near to his Haverhill home before attaching a noose to a tree, but he was declared dead at the scene by a police surgeon.

An inquest in Bury St Edmunds yesterday heard the teenager, who worked in a warehouse after moving to Kingfisher Close in 2001, was one of five children whose death left his mother devastated.

The court was told Mr Mason died from injuries sustained on June 18 this year, when he ran into the woods behind Antonia Close and attached a rope to his neck following a row with Vicki Underwood, his girlfriend of six months.


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The couple's friend Sabrina Wilkie tried desperately to support his weight, but her efforts were in vain and the teenager was declared dead at 1.25pm.

"We were at Vicki's house when a row developed between them. During that time Michael walked out. I ran after him and asked him to come back, but he said his girlfriend did not care," Ms Wilkie said in a statement read to the court.

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"He went into the woods and picked up a rope from a tree, which I tried to grab. He pushed me away and told me to go home, running further into the forest.

"I could see a rope around his neck, but when I reached him, he had suspended himself and his feet were off the ground. He was still speaking, so I tried to do what I could to support him from his waist but was unable to hold his weight."

The inquest heard Mr Mason's younger brother died of cancer aged just four. Michael, who was then 13-years-old, was upset by the tragedy but never became depressed, his mother Lorraine Poulton said.

In a statement read to the court, she added: "Michael was always a happy child, but naturally did get upset about his brother's death from time to time.

"He settled well in Haverhill, and had been with his girlfriend Vicki for around six months. A couple of weeks before he died, he told me he wanted to marry her.

"When the police informed me of his death I was devastated. I did not think he would ever take his own life, and it is my opinion he was trying to attract attention due to a row with Vicki, but it went wrong."

The results of toxicology tests carried out on Mr Mason's body during a post mortem showed no alcohol or drugs were present in his bloodstream at the time of his death.

Closing the inquest, Dr Peter Dean, Coroner for Greater Suffolk, said: "In these circumstances I cannot be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Michael Mason understood or intended the consequences of his actions.

"It may well be that this was essentially something to attract attention rather than a wilful act designed to take his own life."

Dr Dean said he was left with no alternative than to record an open verdict into Mr Mason's death.

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