Open verdict on death of teenager

DOUBTS still surround the death of a teenager who was found hanging at his Hadston home.

Stuart James Wanless, of Woodside Crescent, was discovered dead in his garden shed at about 7.30am on April 14 last year. He was 18.

At an inquest on Tuesday, north Northumberland coroner Tony Brown recorded an open verdict.

Mr Brown said: "I can not be absolutely sure that Stuart had formed a settled intention of taking his own life."

The inquest heard how Stuart had sometimes battled with depression.

He had developed a friendship with a local teenager and the pair began to drink alcohol in excessive amounts.

They had also become interested in guns and American high school massacres. A noose had been found in Stuart's bedroom but he had denied an intention of taking his own life.

Troubled Stuart had taken a paracetamol overdose at the end of March.

The inquest heard how he had also become depressed about a break-up with a girlfriend.

Mr Brown said: "Stuart got things out of proportion. He talked to friends on a chat room about taking his own life. He clearly became quite an angry young man struggling to cope with a range of emotions."

On the night in question, Stuart had been with his friend and had been drinking. The pair went their separate ways at around 12.30am and it is said that Stuart "seemed normal".

Later that morning, he was found dead. Toxicology reports said that Stuart was found with large amounts of alcohol and traces of prescription drugs in his body.

Mr Brown said: "A person who has consumed large amounts of alcohol does not necessarily have the intention to take their life.

"It is probable that Stuart had got things out of proportion. Without drink he would have realised that he had friends and family who cared for him and not want to take his own life."

Mr Brown added it was a tragic loss of a young man.