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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 17:06 GMT
Teen found dead after break-up
Ben Whitney
Ben had wanted to go to university and join the Navy
A heartbroken teenager hanged himself after splitting up with his girlfriend, an inquest in Cardiff was told.

Schoolboy Benjamin Whitney, 17, was found hanging in the family garage by his mother.

The inquest heard the keen rugby player from Birchgrove, Cardiff, had been devastated after breaking up with his girlfriend, and had even attended counselling sessions to get over his heartbreak.

His mother, Janice Whitney, told how she discovered Ben - her only child - after she returned home on 19 June.

"Ben had gone to a friend's party which he had been looking forward to," she said.

"He had not long finished his exams at school. He was out for most of the evening but I heard him come home at about five past midnight.

We're just devastated and miss him every day
Ben's mother, Janice Whitney

"I came downstairs and saw a light on in the garage. I shouted Ben's name and as I entered the garage I saw Ben hanging."

The coroner's court heard that the talented student had been drinking at the party and had a blood alcohol level of 132 milligrams, which is 52milligrams over the legal limit to drive.

Community psychiatric nurse Christopher Steer, who had been counselling Ben for depression, said the schoolboy had been "very upset" at the break up of his relationship.

"Ben came to me with depressed moods which seemed to stem from the break up of his relationship," he said.

"He was upset at the way he felt he was being treated."

Cardiff Coroner Dr Lawrence Addicott recorded an open verdict. He said the level of alcohol in Ben's body meant he could not be sure Ben had intended to kill himself.

"People carry out all sorts of strange and impulsive actions under the influence of alcohol," he said.

After the inquest, Ben's mother Janice said: "Ben loved life and loved playing rugby.

"We were a close family - he was our only child. Ben wanted to go to university and join the Navy. We're just devastated and miss him every day."




SEE ALSO:
Bullied girl planned her funeral
28 Jan 02  |  England



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