Boy, 13, hanged himself after running up £420 bill on parents’ credit card by downloading Xbox games
After Henry Tattersall was confronted by his parents over the huge bill, he was ‘shocked and upset’ and ran to his bedroom, an inquest has heard.
The 13-year-old posted a message on Facebook saying ‘I’m going to kill myself’, and 15 minutes later was found hanging by his sister.
He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead – but a coroner has ruled that he intended to be discovered and did not plan to commit suicide.
Henry borrowed his mother’s card last year and downloaded £422 worth of games over a four-day period as an early Christmas present to himself, the hearing in Burnley was told.
On November 25, his mother Eve received the credit card bill at the family home in Rossendale, Lancashire while Henry was at Brambles East School in Darwen.
When he returned home at 3.20pm that day, Ms Tattersall confronted her son about the spending.
‘I personally believe that Henry was very shocked at the amount of money he had spent,’ she told the hearing. ‘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 recently grounded Henry after she caught him smoking a cigarette at a sleepover.
Ms Tattersall said she heard her son talking out of his window to a friend at 4.20pm, but when she called him downstairs for dinner at 5pm he did not respond.
Henry’s sister Holly, 16, went upstairs and found him hanging in his bedroom with the door open.
The boy’s mother and neighbours attempted to resuscitate him, but Henry was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital where he died at 6.30pm.
When police examined his phone, they found the Facebook message in which he threatened to kill himself, as well as posts referring to his former classmate Declan Gatenby, who killed himself last year following a row over his phone.
However, officers said there was no evidence from Henry’s phone that he had been bullied or had previously tried to research suicide methods.
East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor reached a verdict of misadventure, because he believed that Henry ‘intended to be found’ and had deliberately left his bedroom door open so he could be seen.
He said he could not be sure ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ that Henry intended to take his own life.
Mr Taylor 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.
‘It strikes me that he had a very guilty conscience, but he clearly dwelt on this and was upset at what happened. 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.’
In a statement, Ms Tattersall and her partner Lee Johnson said: ‘Henry’s death was a complete waste. The Henry I’m holding onto is the one running up the front steps, face beaming, with two bags of Christmas shopping and his pupil of the week award.
‘Henry was a fearless, adventurous child who loved his sport, especially football and golf. Burnley FC was his passion and he was a season ticket holder.
‘A typical Henry story is that of him having a bet with his uncle Neil that he could eat 20 Brussels sprouts on Christmas Day two years ago for £20. Henry managed it and was banging on his uncle’s front door at 8am the next morning wanting payment.
‘Henry was a cheeky, funny and impulsive child who has left a massive hole in the family that cannot be filled.’
Staff at Burnley FC, including manager Sean Dyche, lined the streets for Henry’s funeral cortege, while a minute’s applause was held in his memory during the team’s match against Huddersfield Town on November 30.
John Rider, headteacher at Brambles East School said: ‘Henry started at Brambles East School in September 2013 and had been with us for seven weeks.
‘He settled in very quickly and had become a very popular pupil with both staff and his peers. Staff and pupils alike will miss his quiet smile and calm manner.’