Woodland death of troubled young man

Bolton Coroner's Court. Picture courtesy of Google
Bolton Coroner's Court. Picture courtesy of Google

A young man found asphyxiated in woodland had a history of mental health problems, an inquest heard.

Clayton Raines, 26, had been sleeping in a tent in fields in Ashton when his body was discovered by a dog walker and her daughter in nearby Viridor Woods.

He had used a ligature to cut off his oxygen supply. Bolton Coroner’s Court inquest heard Mr Raines was thought to have depressive psychosis made worse by his use of illicit drugs and so called legal highs.

He had previously attempted to take his own life and in 2013 and was placed under the care of the 5 Boroughs Partnership’s Early Intervention Team.

He received regular visits from a mental health nurse and had an injection every two weeks to try to prevent him from having episodes of psychosis.

In the next few years he self-harmed and attempted to kill himself on several other occasions and in January 2016 he was admitted to the Lakeside unit at Leigh Infirmary.

Despite his doctor recommending that Mr Raines be committed for treatment on the ward and an order put in place to prevent him from leaving, this was not backed up by another doctor and Mr Raines was allowed to discharge himself.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Raines’s mum Jane said she did not believe her son was receiving enough support from the mental health services.

She accused the nurse who regularly visited Mr Raines of saying to him on one occasion that he was “just a bit sad” when she knew he was suffering from depression and psychosis.

She said: “As his mother, I am angry, hurt and disgusted that Clayton didn’t get help and support when he needed it. If they had seen Clayton at this time he would still be here today.”

But the court heard that after being discharged from hospital Mr Raines stopped engaging with the Early Intervention Team. Despite repeated attempts to contact him, the team failed to get Mr Raines to engage or attend any of the appointments and in April the decision was made to discharge Mr Raines from the service.

The court heard he was also abusing cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines which affected his mental health but he would not engage with the substance misuse team and this limited what the mental health service could do to help.

In December, Mr Raines, who had a volatile relationship with his mother, went to Carlisle to stay with his dad and was doing well there.

But he returned to his mum’s in Golborne in December and decided afterwards to not go back to stay with his dad. He then went to stay with a friend in Leigh but began to isolate himself from family and friends and ended up sleeping in a tent, which he would move around every few nights.

Friend Angela Hallam said that when Mr Raines self-harmed and took overdoses in the past, she never thought he had tried to kill himself and that it was always a “cry for help”.

The court heard that Mr Raines died of asphyxiation due to a ligature on May 2. An autopsy showed cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines in his system.

Coroner Alan Walsh said there was not enough evidence to suggest Mr Raines had intended to kill himself despite being satisfied he had placed the ligature around his neck himself.

He recorded an open conclusion, adding: “It was a strange method of death and he may well not have known that it would cause his death so quickly.”

If you a struggling to cope with mental health issues, you can call the Samaritans on 01942 492222.