Father's desperate pleas to help teenage son Ed Barry before Gravesend drugs death
by Alan Watkins
A father pleaded for help from social workers for a year as
his 13-year-old son spiralled out of control before his tragic
death, an inquest heard.
But as a children's worker recommended taking legal
action, Edward Barry died from a lethal mix of drink and
Patrick Barry, of Pelham Road South, Gravesend, was giving
evidence at the inquest into the death of his son - known as
Ed - two weeks after his 14th birthday in November
Inquest jurors heard no one gave him - or his son - any advice
or support. He was said to have been told Kent County
Council had no accommodation when he pleaded for respite
By November, Ed's parents were completely at a loss how to cope
Brian Cummins, representing the family, asked Mr Barry: "Did you
feel you were capable of dealing with the problems?"
Mr Barry replied: "I expected social services to put in measures
to protect Eddie from himself.
"They failed totally to communicate with one another. They just
weren't interested in what the police and we were saying."
The one person Ed responded to was adult worker, Chris Grant.
They met several times, coroner Roger Hatch heard.
"I expected social services to put in measures to protect Eddie from himself..." – father Patrick Barry
Mr Grant told Mr Barry in 20 years of youth support he had never
encountered anyone like Ed.
"He was running circles around me," he reportedly said.
The following morning they spoke again.
"He suggested I get legal representation because social services
were not taking proper steps to protect Ed," said Mr Barry. "It was
too late. By then my son was dead."
Yesterday, Ed's mother told the inquest - expected to last two
weeks - he went off the rails after
taking up free running.
Ed, a former Gravesend Grammar School boy died in a
Gravesend flat. A post mortem revealed he had consumed valium
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