Enigma of young man’s tragic death


MYSTERY still surrounds the death of a troubled young man who was found hanged after struggling with alcohol and drugs.

Bolton Coroner’s Court heard Conor Barrett started drinking heavily and taking cocaine following the breakdown of an 18-month relationship with his girlfriend in April 2013.

Area coroner Alan Walsh heard how the 21-year-old motor mechanic from Crawford Avenue, Aspull, was found hanged in woodland off Wigan Road by a dog walker on the morning of December 4 last year.

However, Mr Walsh said there was insufficient evidence to reach any finding other than an open conclusion.

His mother Alison Barrett told the court she had tried to get Conor to seek help from the 5 Boroughs mental health trust after falling into depression and mood swings, but he would not go to the appointments that had been booked.

She said: “After leaving school he became more stubborn and difficult, but the breakdown of his relationship was the major problem, together with the drink and drugs.

“I just think he was trying to block out whatever was making him so unhappy.

“I said I would sort things out with him but he told me no-one could help.”

Mrs Barrett told the court Conor left home at around 6.30pm the day before his death to go for a drink at the Moorgate pub in Aspull, but did not return home until after 5am the following morning.

She said he was under the influence and at one point tried to get back into his house through the window, before leaving just before 6am.

He was discovered in a secluded woodland area around two hours later.

A post-mortem examination found Conor had high levels of alcohol in his system, together with cocaine and therapeutic levels of a prescription drug.

Greater Manchester Police found no suspicious circumstances or evidence of third-party involvement.

Recording his verdict, Mr Walsh said doubt remained over Conor’s state of mind at the time of his death as no notes or text messages were found.

He said: “To lose a son at 21 is beyond imagination. Mrs Barrett and the health services did everything they could to help him.

“We simply cannot know what was happening in his mind or how badly he was affected by the drink and drugs.

“It is clear to me that the end of his relationship had a great impact on him, and alcohol changed him and made him act differently to when he was sober.

“I am truly sorry.”

Mrs Barrett paid an emotional tribute to her son after the inquest.

She said: “He was a lovely young man who is going to be missed so much.

“He had lots of friends and everybody loved him.

“His friends always said he was a happy chap and his smile could light up the darkest room.”