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'He kept hugging me and telling me he loved me' Open verdict on man, 19, found hanged in wood.

Byline: Ruth Kearney

A MOTHER has described her desperate bid to help her teenage son shortly before he was found hanging in woodland.

Sean Rees, 19, was found dead by his sister and her friend in a wooded area near his home in Betws, near Bridgend, at about 7.30am on April 20 last year.

His mother Tracy said she spoke to her son earlier that morning after finding empty medication packets when she woke at about 6am. When she questioned him about the tablets she couldn't understand what he was saying.

In a statement read out at his inquest at Bridgend Magistrates' Court yesterday, she said: "He kept hugging me and telling me he loved me, and held my face and said 'I'm all right'."

Mrs Rees tried phoning her brother. But as she did so she heard the front door bang. Within an hour and a half, after a frantic search, she received a phone call from her daughter Ceri, telling her Mr Rees was dead.

Mrs Rees said: "I ran over to Heol Dewi Sant and found him laid out on the floor."

She added: "I know there have been many young deaths in Bridgend in recent months but I do not believe Sean's death is linked in any way."

In a statement to police, his friend Neil Owen, who was to be found hanging seven weeks later, said the night before they had been watching their local team play football.

He said: "We went to the Oddfellows public house afterwards for a drink and sat around and socialised together. Everyone was having a drink and enjoying themselves.

Hewas tapping the wooden area where I was sitting and I told him to shut up. We were close and we would wind each other up."

Mr Owen was told about his friend's death by his father the next morning.

In the statement Mr Owen, who lived in a flat above the Oddfellows Arms in Betws at the time, said: "As far as I'm aware, he had no financial difficulties. We had even talked about booking a holiday together and planned getting food later on that Sunday."

Pathologist Dr Alan Martin Rees said the post mortem examination showed Mr Rees, of Heol Glannant, Betws, had consumed a large quantity of alcohol.

He also said Mr Rees had taken a cocktail of drugs including paracetamol, codeine, tramadol and lofepramine.

"It's quite possible his mood or judgment could have been adversely affected," said Dr Rees.

"Iwould say the alcohol was the main component on his mood or judgement."

DC Gaz Cridland said police recovered Mr Rees' laptop and a mobile phone.

"He was able to access Bebo and Facebook but they had no links to him taking his own life."

Coroner Peter Maddox said a verdict of suicide was inappropriate because he felt Mr Rees didn't intend taking his own life.

He said the cause of death was asphyxia due to a ligature about the neck.

Recording an open verdict, Mr Maddox said: "Why he did what he did is something which his family and friends will never know. He appears to have been a very happy young man. He had good friends and was out the night before socialising."

Mr Maddox added that the level of alcohol in Mr Rees' body may have also affected his mood or judgement.

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SEAN REES: 'His death was not linked to others in Bridgend'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 24, 2009
Words:572
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