Cancer terror suicide

A popular teenager from Hindley hanged himself because he wrongly believed he had cancer.

CBen Prescott was found hanging from a tree branch at the bottom of his uncle's garden just four days after Christmas last year.

The 19-year-old from Ashfield Avenue was terrified of cancer after watching his beloved grandfather die of the disease, just six months earlier.

An inquest heard that when Mr Prescott found a lump on his scrotum, he immediately feared that he had testicular cancer.

The delivery driver took a concoction of pills including paracetamol, birth control pills and his uncle's anti-depressants, in the early hours of December 29.

He then cut some washing line and attached it to a tree branch before hanging himself.

But Mr Prescott did not have cancer. He had an inflammation and the condition could have been treated with medication and minor surgery.

Mr Prescott's mother, Maria Webb, gave evidence at the inquest held at Bolton Coroner's Court.

She told the hearing that Ben was the eldest of three children and he went to live with his grandfather after his mum and dad separated.

Mrs Webb said: "He was close to his grandfather. My dad had lung cancer, and was ill for about six months, before he died in June 2004.

He chose to die at home and Ben saw his painful and sad deterioration, and was affected by his death.

"After my dad died, Ben visited his grave at night. He made the journey on his bike in the dark. "

She added: "Ben had lots of friends and was well liked. He enjoyed his job and did not seem to be lonely.

He had been going out with his girlfriend, Lyndsey Chadwick, for two or three years."

Mr Prescott went to live with his uncle, Dean Prescott, after his grandfather died.Dean Prescott told the court that on the day of Ben's death, Lyndsey visited him in the early hours.

He said: "She was crying and said that Ben was going to do something stupid because he thought he had cancer.

"I didn't take her on because she had been drinking.

"But when Ben came home I confronted him. He told me he had a lump. I said not to worry, I would make an appointment at the doctor and everything would be fine."

At around 8.30am Dean Prescott let his dogs out the back and discovered Ben hanged in the garden.

Deputy Coroner Alan Walsh said: "It is extremely sad for a lad of 19, who had his whole life ahead of him, to be so tormented by the thought of death by cancer."

Mr Walsh recorded a verdict of suicide.