Thirteen-year-old Bailey Ross Reay died on December 19, 2020 at an address in Houghton, where he lived with his grandmother.
An inquest at Sunderland Coroner’s Court heard he been in the care of his great-aunt on the evening of December 18, who had last spoken to him around 1.30am. He was found unresponsive around midday.
Found in his room was a bottle of medication that was prescribed to his grandmother.
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Post-mortem toxicology tests revealed alcohol and the medication, described as ‘eight times a large therapeutic dose’ in Bailey’s system.
A pathologist had concluded death was due to the effects of alcohol and the medication in his system and noted that the two would have had a combined effect on the central nervous system, which controls breathing.
Senior assistant coroner Karin Welsh said there had been ‘various aspects of Bailey’s life that may have caused him concern’, including ‘some very difficult family dynamics’ and issues with school, though these seemed to have eased.
Coroner’s officer Neville Dixon told the inquest concerns had been raised about bullying, but a school computer seized at the time of Bailey’s death had not revealed anything of concern and accessing his PIN-protected phone had proved impossible.
The inquest heard there had been some messages shared on social media about possible bullying, but only after Bailey died, and it had not been possible to confirm whether it really was an issue prior to his death.
Bailey had left a voicemail with a friend on the night he died, confessing to a crush and admitting he had taken some tablets: “I have had a crush on you for the longest time, so I guess this is goodbye,” it said.
Ms Welsh said Bailey had admitted taking medication in the voicemail he left to his friend and told the hearing: “Sadly, my conclusion must be suicide.”
People can call Samaritans for free any time on 116 123, email [email protected], or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of their nearest branch.