East Lancashire teen found hanged after racking up £420 Xbox game bill

Henry Tattersall and Bertie Bee

Henry Tattersall and Bertie Bee

First published in News
Last updated

A TEENAGER who hanged himself after running up a £420 bill on his parents’ credit card did not mean to take his own life, a coroner has ruled.

Burnley fan Henry Tattersall, 13, was found dead in his bedroom by his sister at his Rossendale home on November 25 last year.

An inquest heard how the Darwen schoolboy sent a Facebook message 15 minutes before he was discovered, which read: “I’m going to kill myself.”

But East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor reached a conclusion of misadventure because he believed that Henry ‘intended to be found’.

Other messages on Henry’s Facebook account referred to Declan Gatenby, one of his former classmates at Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads, who also took his own life aged 13 last July.

Henry’s mum, Eve Tattersall, told the inquest that she had spoken to him after discovering he had bought X-Box computer games as a Christmas present to himself using a credit card belonging to her and her partner, Lee Johnson.

Henry, who had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), had been dropped off from Brambles East School, Darwen, at his home in Brow Edge, Newchurch, at 3.20pm on November 25.

When he was told about the credit card statement, which had arrived that morning, Ms Tattersall said: “I personally believe that Henry was very shocked at the amount of money he had spent. He was upset that I was upset.

“He was upset that he had spent the money and we weren’t in a position to be able to afford that amount of money.

“He spent £422 over four days on it. He was genuinely shocked at the amount of money.”

She added that she had already grounded Henry for two weeks after she caught him having a cigarette at a sleepover.

Ms Tattersall said she could hear Henry talking out of his upstairs bedroom window to a friend at 4.20pm, but that he did not respond when she called him down for his tea at 5pm.

Henry was discovered by his 16-year-old sister, Holly, when she went upstairs. Ms Tattersall and neighbours attempted to resuscitate him but Henry died at Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Pathologist Dr Abdul Al-Dawoud, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said the medical cause of Henry’s death was hanging.

Detective Inspector Jim Elston, of Burnley Police, said there was no evidence from Henry’s phone that he had been bullied or had researched suicide methods.

Mr Taylor said he could not be sure ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ that Henry intended to take his own life, and that by leaving his bedroom door open, believed he would be found before he died.

Reaching a conclusion of misadventure, he said: “I am always suspicious and sceptical as to the intentions of children, of such a young age, as to whether or not they actually understand what’s going to happen to them.

“Leaving his door open...it strikes me that he had a very guilty conscience, but he clearly dwelt on this and was upset at what happened.

“Maybe the conversation on Facebook about Declan Gatenby’s grave meant it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. We will never know that.

“I believe that he hoped to make a point and expected to be found. I don’t believe it was his intention to end his life.”

Speaking after the inquest, Ms Tattersall said: “I’m glad it’s all over now. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who supported us over the last three months. It’s been amazing.”

Burnley FC staff at Turf Moor, including manager Sean Dyche, lined Harry Potts Way in Burnley when Henry’s funeral cortège made its way to Burnley Crematorium on December 5 last year.

The club’s supporters also held a minute’s applause in his memory during the Clarets’ game against Huddersfield Town on November 30.

A Facebook page set up in Henry’s memory has more than 3,000 followers.

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