Mystery over death of South Yorkshire teenager Ashley

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A troubled teenager found hanged in his bedroom may not have intended to kill himself, an inquest has ruled.

The body of Ashley Banks, aged 14, was discovered by his distraught dad Shane in February.

Mr Banks, aged 35, had initially raised fears his son may have been bullied - but at yesterday’s inquest into the death, Det Con Matthew Gregory, who carried out a police investigation, ruled out the theory.

“There was initial concern some bullying may have gone on,” he said. “We spoke to teachers and fellow pupils and various other people and concluded bullying was not an issue and hadn’t occurred.”

The inquest heard Ashley, of Coronation Road, Hoyland, Barnsley, a pupil at Horizon Community College, Barnsley, suffered Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and behavioural problems.

He was regularly in trouble at school and had received a warning from South Yorkshire Police for stealing.

But the inquest heard his behaviour improved when he took his medication correctly and he was ‘engaging’ with the Youth Offending Service at the time of his death, planning future activities to take part in.

His mother, Donna, said in a statement read out at the hearing that Ashley kissed both his parents and told them he loved them before going to bed the night before his body was found.

She said when he was not taking his medication correctly he wrote a letter detailing how unhappy he felt and stating he wanted to harm himself, but medical professionals said the depression was a side-effect of his medication and changed the dose.

“I was heartbroken but after that Ashley was quickly back to himself, with no major problems,” said Donna.

She said another teenage boy who used to live on their street – 15-year-old Liam Collier – had hanged himself the year before, but she did not think there was a connection.

“Ashley knew him from school but they could not be described as friends,” she said. “I doubt this influenced Ashley at all.

“I can’t think of any reason he wanted to do this.”

The police investigation into the death also failed to find any reason for Ashley taking his own life, and Assistant Deputy Coroner Louse Slater ruled out suicide.

Recording a narrative verdict she said: “There is no indication how he came to be in this position and the intention remains unclear.”

Suggesting it may have a been a tragic prank, she added: “I understand ADHD leads to impulsive actions.”