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Coroner concludes inquest into death of Derbyshire teen who was 'let down'

George Lomas, pictured at his mother's wedding day in 2016. Picture contributed.
George Lomas, pictured at his mother's wedding day in 2016. Picture contributed.

A coroner has concluded an inquest into the death of a much-loved teenager who hanged himself.

George Lomas, 16, passed away at his father's house on Town Street, Pinxton, on August 2 last year.

Chesterfield coroners' court previously heard how George - who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 10 - confessed to his mother, Zoe Wallis, that he was feeling depressed around the start of 2017.

Ms Wallis said she took George to see his GP at the Village Surgery in South Normanton.

The GP referred George to Starting Point - a Derbyshire County Council-led service designed to protect children - but was subsequently told that the referral criteria was not met.

The GP then sought further information on possible counselling services and asked the practice manager to contact George and Ms Wallis to attend for a double appointment so that he could reassess the situation and consider further referral.

However, the practice manager did not make contact with George or his mother.

Summing up the inquest, coroner Peter Nieto said: "Had they been contacted it is likely that they would have had the benefit of seeing the GP again before August 2 to discuss possible further help.

"The court can only speculate whether this would have prevented George's actions on August 2."

Ms Wallis previously told the court: "Why wasn't I phoned?

"I feel George has been let down.

"If he'd got that bit of help, we might not be sat here."

Mr Nieto said he could not return a conclusion of suicide.

He explained: "The court must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that George undertook a deliberate act and that he intended to take his own life.

"Although the court does find that George consciously and deliberately placed the noose on himself and suspended himself, the court cannot conclude that it was his intention to kill himself because there is no history of actual or threatened self-harm; there is no suicide note or message; George suspended himself at about the time he would have expected his grandmother or mother to visit the house and thus there is the possibility that he expected to be discovered prior to death occurring."

Mr Nieto returned a narrative conclusion setting out the facts of the tragic case.

He added: "Although it lies beyond the scope of George's inquest, the court did wonder whether there are appropriate services in the locality for counselling and support for young people with autism.

"The Starting Point acting service manager said that there was no direct social care local authority provision, although she did consider that a particular voluntary sector service would have been likely to have been appropriate.

"It was suggested that a referral to the child and adolescent mental health service could have been made but the GP stated that previous referrals to that service for George had been declined, that a further referral would have been likely to be declined and that the service would usually expect an assessment from children and young people's services first."

George was a hard-working young man who excelled at Frederick Gent School.

A deputy head boy who sat on the school council, he had high expectations.

George achieved 'outstanding' GCSE results and was looking forward to studying for his A levels at college and wanted to go to university.

Ms Wallis paid tribute to her 'handsome' son and said: "George was very much-loved and is missed so much by all of us."

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