Inquest told teenager from Shotton had a history of self-harm

Reporter:

David Humphreys

A teenager with a history of self-harm was troubled but showed no sign of mental disorder, an inquest heard.

Joshua Stanley Jones, 15, died at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool after being transferred from the Countess of Chester Hospital on October 11, 2016.

Joshua was found by his mother and police officers at his home on Chevrons Road, Shotton, on October 9.

An inquest at County Hall in Ruthin was told Joshua had a history of depression and self-harm. He was affected by social pressures and could often display impulsive behaviour.

His mum Kay Smerdon said her son attended college before his death but his attendance was sporadic.

It was said Joshua would act out and suffered low moods which got worse when he was accused of stealing cannabis.

Ms Smerdon said her son, who she described as “loving and caring” who was “generous” and her “lovely lad”, had an often difficult relationship with his girlfriend and shut himself away from friends to spend more time with her.

She attempted to engage her son with the Flintshire child and adolescent mental health service CAMS but felt her son would not say what troubled him, rather “what they wanted to hear”.

His father, Mark Jones, said his son, who he was aware was “troubled”, was a “fun loving boy” who “loved animals and touched people of all ages with his unforgettable charm”.

His girlfriend told the inquest that she knew “three Joshes” but they loved each other and she wanted him to keep on at college.

She said that when Joshua attempted to cut his arms, he would later say “this is not me in my own head, why have I done this?” as if he had “a split personality”.

On the day he died, she contacted their friend after an argument with Joshua.

She checked in on him and he appeared at a window at the Chevrons Road address saying he was “fine” and to “just leave it”.

He then appeared at the friend’s ‘ 30 minutes later “ranting” and answering his own questions, asking for his girlfriend.

Joshua then said to the friend “tell her I love her but I’m going” and locked himself in at home.

His girlfriend said had Joshua not locked himself away, she felt she could have stopped him.

PC Christopher Pullen went to the scene on October 9 and attempted to enter the property after police were alerted by a call from the girlfriend, concerned for Joshua’s safety.

After a third attempt, Miss Smerdon arrived with a key to open the door where Joshua was found on the staircase.

Officers attempted to establish a pulse and signs of life with defibrillators used by paramedics before he was transferred to the Countess of Chester Hospital and then Alder Hey.

Doctors at the Liverpool hospital said Joshua suffered a “severe irreversible brain injury” which had led to his death as a result of hanging.

Libby Evans, of Flintshire CAMS, said Joshua was initially referred to the service in April 2016 and received help from the substance misuse service.

Miss Evans said although he was troubled, there was no sign of a mental health disorder.

She added that it came down to social pressures and impulsive behaviour.

Recording a conclusion of misadventure, John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, said he could not be certain of Joshua’s intentions as he would have recognised the risks of his actions, having attempted self-harm previously.

Therefore, Mr Gittins said, he had taken an action that had not gone as planned and could well have been a cry for help.

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