Tragic Gravesend grammar schoolboy Ed Barry discovered drink, drugs and sex at 13, inquest told
by Alan Watkins
A schoolboy who mysteriously died in Gravesend rapidly went
downhill after discovering drink, drugs and sex at 13, an inquest
Ed Barry was 14 and being supported by Kent social services when
his body was found in a town centre flat.
A fatal dose was found in his body when a post mortem was
held shortly after the discovery in November 2009.
An inquest in Gravesend heard Ed was a bright high
achiever and a keen athlete, but within months had gone off
The coroner's counsel, Chris Sutton-Mattocks, told an inquest
jury he had consumed valium and methadone.
His parents - whose address cannot be reported for legal reasons
repeatedly sought advice from police and social workers as Ed
Two months after his 13th birthday, Ed became involved in a very
intense relationship with a girl identified as M.
"He became open that it was a sexual relationship," said the
barrister. "They went missing, but were found a day later in
However, days before his death the relationship broke up. That
day he visited his social worker.
"He was shouting incoherently, hungry, in desperate need of
continually scratching his arms and body," said Mr
"He was told that was the effect of opiates on his body."
That night Ed was drunk. He slumped to the floor of a flat used
recovering drug user.
The older man put him in the recovery position, covered the boy
checked him during the night.
Mr Sutton-Mattocks said: "Around midday when he checked Ed he
saw his lips had turned blue and he was cold to the touch. He
called the ambulance."
Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The inquest is expected to continue for at least two weeks.
Tomorrow, Ed's parents are expected to give evidence.
The north Kent coroner, Roger Hatch, opened an inquest in May
It was adjourned until July that year, but the mystery
surrounding the death of the Gravesend Grammar School boy continued
after the case became embroiled in a row between KCC social
services and the coroner.
The hearing was adjourned after KCC took the coroner to the High
Court in a bid to stop the inquest.
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