Mystery over teenager's death

PUBLISHED: 07:35 22 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:05 06 July 2010

The events leading up to the tragic death of a 16-year-old found hanged in woods in a north Suffolk seaside village remain a mystery, an inquest has heard.

The events leading up to the tragic death of a 16-year-old found hanged in woods in a north Suffolk seaside village remain a mystery, an inquest has heard.

Sixteen-year-old Liam Cosby went missing in early August last year and on August 14, his body was found by a member of the public walking near allotments in Walberswick, near Southwold.

He was found hanged from a tree in a patch of woodland next to a public footpath alongside Millfield Road, near to the Anchor pub, on the edge of the small village.

An inquest held in Lowestoft heard yesterday that Liam, of Sturdee Avenue in Yarmouth, was found hanging by the neck but kneeling on the ground. The mysterious circumstances lead to a detailed police investigation but nothing suspicious was found.

Because of initial difficulties confirming his identity, police issued pictures to the media of his distinctive tattoos - a scorpion, a Chinese snake dragon and a fish - which then lead to him being identified by a relative.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean said yesterday: “It appears that he seemed to be almost in a kneeling position rather than suspended off the ground. There was a detailed examination of the scene because of the concerns as to whether there were any suspicious circumstances or not.”

He added: “In all of the inquiries that were made, there was no sign of any foul play or anything untoward or any evidence of the involvement of any other person in these very tragic circumstances.

“Clearly the possibility or probability that Liam made the decision to end his life is there but at the same time, given some of the circumstances - the kneeling position, no evidence of any intent and the discovery being completely unexpected - I therefore cannot rule out the possibility that there was some other cause for his being found suspended in this way other than suicidal intent.”

At the time, police believed that Liam may have been sleeping rough before he died and that his body may have been at the site for up to seven hours before it was found. It was not known whether he might have hitch-hiked or used public transport to get to Walberswick.

Dr Dean recorded an open verdict. He added: “I wish to offer my thoughts and condolences to the family on the loss of Liam in these sad and very unexpected circumstances.”

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