Caring teen was found hanged
A‘BRIGHT, caring, funny and kind’ 17-year-old died after being found hanged on Christmas Eve last year, an inquest heard.
Tiegan O’Rourke, who had battled mental health issues, had earlier that day contacted her mother to say how excited she was about presents she had bought for her brothers and that she was picking out her clothes to wear for a family Christmas Day, a coroner was told.
The teenager was found unconscious in her room at an assisted living home at Davlin House, Sparth Road, Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire, shortly after 4pm on December 24, 2017.
Paramedics managed to regain a pulse and transported her to Royal Blackburn Hospital, but doctors determined she had sustained catastrophic brain injuries and she died on Boxing Day. A coroner said that the teenager was found with a ligature around her neck ‘however the matter of intent is not made out in this case’.
The inquest at Preston Coroner’s Court heard from Tiegan’s mother, Ema Catley, who said her daughter was a ‘healthy, happy, child’ but began to encounter mental health difficulties from the age of 10.
Ms Catley said Tiegan had started to self-harm and there had been ‘an escalation of issues’ in the years leading up to her death. Tiegan had been looked after by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and resided at several institutions in the years prior to her death.
The inquest heard that she had found the process of transferring from child services to adult services difficult as she became a young woman.
Her mother told the court that she had responded to ‘two on one’ individual care, but that level of support was not available when she transferred to the Davlin House in October 2017.
The inquest heard about Tiegan’s ‘kind and generous nature’ from her mother.
She said: “At times I saw significant improvement, she organised a Macmillan coffee morning and would support others, but after her move to assisted living she was not used to it. She told me it had been a mistake to put her there and she felt abandoned and rejected.”
Ms Catley said that on the day of the incident there was ‘nothing that aroused my suspicion’.
She said: “There was nothing that struck me as odd. On previous occasions she had self-harmed she wouldn’t speak to me the same day. She was excited about Christmas presents for her brothers and I told her I had moved some money into her bank account from a relative.”
The inquest heard that Tiegan had ‘loved’ going to school at Our Lady & St John Catholic College in Blackburn and was particularly thrilled to attend the school prom earlier in 2017.
It was heard that in the months prior to her death Tiegan had been profoundly affected by the passing of her aunt and of a close friend.
Tiegan’s case co-ordinator, social worker Samantha Moore, said although Tiegan found it very difficult to open up she was ‘bright, caring and funny’.
“She was very easy to like and to get on with,” she said.
Miss Moore added that the difficulties of her care being transferred from child to adult services had been ‘problematic’ for Tiegan and there had been miscommu n i c a t i o n between departments which meant that meetings were missed and personnel involved in her care were not invited to conferences.
The court heard that Tiegan carried with her a filled out organ donation card and her wishes were carried out.
Lancashire area coroner James Newman told her family: “What a credit to Tiegan to do that. She has gone on to hopefully save the lives of others.”
Recording a narrative conclusion, Mr Newman said: “Tiegan O’Rourke died from hypoxic brain injuries as a result of hanging.
“On the 24 December 2017 Ms O’Rourke was found suspended by a ligature and despite the efforts of paramedics who were able to recover her heart rate, she had already sustained a catastrophic hypoxic brain injury.
“Ms O’Rourke was found with a ligature around her neck however the matter of intent is not made out in this case.”