Car­ing teen was found hanged

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected]­ @Ac­cring­tonNews


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.”

Tie­gan O’Rourke

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