Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 15:28 UK

Hanging 'cries for help' warning

Liam Clarke
Liam Clarke had been drinking before he hanged himself

The coroner serving a county where a number of young people have taken their own lives says he believes they do not realise how quickly hanging can kill.

Bridgend coroner Philip Walters said he felt many of the youngsters who killed themselves were "crying out for help".

But he said doing so by hanging "almost certainly" leads to death.

He made the comments at the inquest of Liam Clarke, 20, from Cefn Glas, Bridgend, who he said killed himself while under the influence of drink.

Since the beginning of 2007, 22 young people from the county have apparently taken their own lives.

The inquest in Brackla, Bridgend heard Mr Clarke hanged himself from the frame of a children's slide following an argument with his girlfriend.

His body was discovered in a play area near his home by a dog walker on the morning of December 27, 2007.

The inquest heard he had stormed out of the home he shared with his parents after having an argument with his girlfriend.

Coroner Philip Walters

If people are crying out for help or trying to draw attention to a particular set of circumstances, this is not the way to do it

Bridgend coroner Philip Walters

Mr Clarke had accused her of having an affair with a friend after they had spent Boxing Day evening drinking in a local pub.

Before he killed himself, he sent a text message to his girlfriend and mother.

The coroner Mr Walters ruled that Mr Clarke did not deliberately kill himself.

"What I'm satisfied about is that I don't think for one minute he intended to take his own life," said Mr Walters.

"I don't think that for one minute. I don't think some of these young people, not only in Bridgend but across the whole of my district and other districts, realise how quickly one is rendered unconscious.

"In general it is a time limit of less than five seconds before unconsciousness.

"If people are crying out for help or trying to draw attention to a particular set of circumstances, this is not the way to do it.

"It will almost certainly lead to death."

Mr Walters recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Clarke killed himself while under the influence of drink.

Depression

In a statement, Mrs Clarke told the inquest that her son had been prescribed medication for depression and would become aggressive whenever he forgot to take his tablets.

She also said he tried to hang himself with his school tie at the age of 14 or 15 following a row over whether he could have his tongue pierced. She said the attempt failed when the tie snapped.

"We found out he was beginning to use cannabis and he would get a terrible attitude," said Mrs Clarke.

"The last few months he had been bad and he would argue."




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