Drinking led to death of Wrexham teenager chased by police

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

ALCOHOL played a large part in events leading to a 15-year-old boy’s death in a Wrexham village.

That was the view of a inquest jury who spent two days listening to evidence about how Sam Foulkes, 15, lost his life after hours spent drinking with friends in Rhos.

After hearing two days of evidence at Flint Magistrates’ Court the jury foreman said:
“Sam’s thoughts were impaired when he ran away due to the amount of alcohol he had consumed.

“Nobody, including the policeman, could have foreseen the tragic results of the chase.

“We convey our condolences to the family and friends of Sam for their tragic loss.”

Sam’s best friend, who cannot be identified because of his age, told the hearing he saw Sam every day and he was “happy, funny and smiley”.

On the day he died the pair met at 3pm when Sam took to the best friend’s house six cans of Stella and a litre of San Miguel beer. They moved to another friend’s house in Ponciau at 5.30pm and an hour later started to walk to Rhos.

They arrived in Rhos at 7.30pm where the trio went to the chip shop. “I think he had had four to five cans by then. He was a bit tipsy. Sam started swaying when walking along,” the best friend said.

A policeman arrived at the takeaway and confiscated Sam’s cigarettes because of his age. Sam also gave a false identify.

The friends then tried to get into the Hafod Social Club but Sam was not allowed in because he did not have any identification. Sam said he was going home to Glanrafon, Rhos, to get ID.

The best friend went into the club and another friend later told him Sam had been knocked over.

Another friend, now 17, told the inquest Sam knew his parents hated him drinking.

The friend met Sam outside the Hafod Club at about 8.45pm and described him as “wrecked”. “He was swaying. I put my arm around him. I propped him up. I carried him along the side of the Hafod Club when I saw two people coming towards us.

“Initially I thought they were walking a dog. Then I saw they were police.”

The 17-year-old, who was carrying a bag of alcohol, also gave a false identity to police, the hearing was told. At that stage Sam fell into the officer, PC Stephen Mark Sayer.

“The police officer said: ‘You have had too many. Your’e coming with us’. I said I’ll take him home,” said the 17-year-old.

He did not want the police to take him home because his mum and dad might have gone “mad”.

Sam would not let the policeman grab him so he started running and the officer ran after him.

The 17-year-old said of Sam: “He was running in a snakey sort of fashion. He was on both the footpaths and the road.”

Another officer, Special Constable Sarah Davies, shouted for the 17-year-old to stop. When he got round the corner he saw Sam on the floor and PC Sayer was next to him.

The youth said: “The policeman said: ‘He ran into the car and banged his head and is knocked out’.”

On Monday the jury was told Sam, a pupil of Ysgol y Grango in Rhos, was chased by PC Sayer and ran into two parked cars. He sustained a fatal head injury and died six days later at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool.

PC Sayer said he intended to take the youngster home to his parents because he was drunk.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said the cause of death was severe blunt force head injuries caused by a collision with two parked vehicles. A secondary cause was acute alcohol intoxication.

His mother Jane Foulkes told the hearing the family had been left in “absolute ruins” since the death. Before her son went out she had told him: “Be careful, I need you.”

Summing up for the jury, North East Wales coroner John Hughes said of Sam: “He was a loving son of a loving family who had never been in trouble with the police or school.

See full story in the Leader

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