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THE family of a teenager who set himself on fire in a desperate attempt to get help for his depression say he was failed by the mental health services which treated him.

An inquest in Newcastle was told yesterday that Jason Rowe was only 19 when in March this year he died following an accidental overdose of prescription medication.

Two weeks earlier, the keen football fan, of Drybeck Court, Rye Hill, Newcastle, had doused himself in turps and set himself on fire, as well as slashing his own face with a knife and taking an overdose of anti-psychotic drugs on a separate occasion.

His stepmother Kerry Rowe, 38, of Cornhill, West Denton, said: "The whole family holds the mental health team solely responsible for Jason's death and it won't end there.

I really believe they failed him from the very beginning and we are seeking legal advice to take the matter further."

Mr Rowe's mother Kathleen Moulding, 47, whose boyfriend Paul Routledge, 44, saved Jason's life by dousing the flames, said: "They just didn't take Jason seriously and there was very poor communication between the Crisis Action Team and myself. They weren't interested in anything I had to say."

Coroner David Mitford, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Rowe had intended to take his own life and accepted his family's assessment the overdose which killed him was a cry for help.

He was told that Mr Rowe, whose family described him as witty and full of fun, had started having problems in August 2005 after he was charged in relation to an attack on a football supporter in Newcastle city centre.

Mr Rowe was convicted of kicking the 26-year-old on a night out before another man stabbed him 40 times. He was sentenced to two years in Castington Young Offenders' Institution in Morpeth, Northumberland, after admitting wounding with intent.

The hearing was told Mr Rowe had begun to drink heavily and this had been a factor in the psychosis he had begun to develop, which included hearing voices.

Psychiatrist Dr Harish Neelakant said he had met Mr Rowe in January this year and in his opinion his condition had started to improve.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust said: "In line with usual procedures, the trust will be carrying out a full internal review of this case and any lessons learnt will be shared across the organisation.

"However, we are aware that the family have concerns about the care Jason Rowe received. We would urge them to contact the trust to talk about these concerns and will share the outcome of the review with them.


CRY FOR HELP Jason Rowe took a medication overdose.; Picture: Paul Norris ref: 01121720; DISTRAUGHT PARENTS Jimmy Rowe and Kathleen Moulding.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 3, 2008
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