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Father's desperate pleas to help teenage son Ed Barry before Gravesend drugs death

Edward Barry
Edward Barry

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 drugs.

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 2009.

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 care.

By November, Ed's parents were completely at a loss how to cope with him.

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 and methadone.

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