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Boarding school pupil, 17, was found dead at home in garden shed after three previous bids to kill himself despite psychiatrist's claim he was at 'low risk of suicide'

  • Edward Ketchen, 17, from Woodchurch, hanged himself after returning home
  • The teenager sent a text from his phone saying 'sorry' and 'goodbye' at 4:21pm
  • Coroner recorded a verdict of suicide at the Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone
  • Despite previous attempts mental health service found him to be at low risk 

A boarding school pupil was found dead at home in a garden shed after three previous attempts to kill himself despite a psychiatrist's claim he was at 'low risk of suicide', an inquest heard.

Edward Ketchen, 17, from Woodchurch, Kent, hanged himself after returning home from Ashford School on September 15 last year.

The inquest heard how the teenager sent a text from his phone saying 'sorry' and 'goodbye' at 4:21pm.

Edward Ketchen, 17, from Woodchurch, Kent, hanged himself after returning home from Ashford School (pictured in a file photo) on September 15 last year

Edward Ketchen, 17, from Woodchurch, Kent, hanged himself after returning home from Ashford School (pictured in a file photo) on September 15 last year

When his mother, Camilla, returned home she went to the bedroom 'expecting him to be there' but he was nowhere to be seen.

She saw two notes on the table, one of which was sealed and stated that it was to be 'opened upon his death'.

Mrs Ketchen then went to the garden and found Edward dead in the shed.

Police officers and paramedics attempted resuscitation but he was pronounced dead at 6:03pm.

The inquest at Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone heard how Edward had suffered with 'emotional anger' and 'mental health issues' for a number of years.

In July 2017, he was assessed by a psychiatrist at the NHS' Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) where he was found to be at 'low risk of suicide'.

A number of issues were raised in the assessment, including his disappointment at being rejected from joining the British Army because he suffered with 'visual impairment'.

Just two months later, he had taken his own life.

Mrs Ketchen said: 'Edward had three known previous suicide attempts. He had regularly self-harmed.

'But he did not have a mental health disorder according to CAHMS and was considered as being at low risk of suicide.

'In my book, there is no such thing of low risk of suicide if they are self-harming.'

Mrs Ketchen added: 'We would just like to say thank you to everybody for protecting the rights of the dead.

'All the public services involved have done what they had to do with efficiency and respect.

'We are very grateful to the police and paramedics who tried to resuscitate him and did their best to support me after his death.

'I want to thank Ashford School and without their help he would never have gone to CAHMS in the first place. We must all do our utmost to support young people.'

Edward's dad Lyndon Ketchen paid tribute to a 'quirky' and 'intelligent' son and pointed to the army setback as one of the issues he was struggling with.

Mt Ketchen said: 'Edward had a way of bringing abstract ideas together and making sense of it.

'He was very supportive, he was a person who would give you his last sweet if he could – he was very generous like that.

'But he was obviously troubled. Being rejected from the army was one underlying cause for why he felt the way he did.

'He would always help people. He had got some very close friends at school who he was supportive of and they were supportive of him.'

Coroner Geoffrey Smith recorded a verdict of suicide and expressed his 'sincere condolences' to the family in what he described as a 'terrible set of circumstances'.

He said: 'Edward was laboured under fluctuating mental health.

'It is quite clear there was no third party involvement. Edward in-fact hanged himself.

'Looking at the history, I am satisfied that Edward did intend to take his life and there was a previous intention.

'It may well be that there are issues appropriately raised with Lenworth and others.

'His parents feel let down by the adolescent mental health services and I appreciate that issue may be taken further but it is beyond the scope of this inquest.

'I do not know if there could have been a relapse predicted by the services.

'This is just a tragic situation for the family and all those concerned. 

'I am able to draw the conclusion that on September 15, 2017, Edward Ketchen committed suicide.'   

If you need confidential support, visit samaritans.org or phone 116 123. 

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