Coroner returns open verdict on death of Louth Monks’ Dyke schoolboy, 11

A coroner has said he could not be sure that an 11-year-old Louth schoolboy intended to take his own life after he was found hanged in his bedroom.

Ryan Davie, a pupil at Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College, was found by his adopted mother in his bedroom on April 1, and died the next day at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The inquest at Spilsby on June 26 heard how Ryan, of Holton le Clay, had blossomed into a popular pupil and a school councillor, despite some troubled early years.

His adopted father Nathan Davie said his family had been ‘ruined’ and would never be the same again. “My family is not a family anymore, it’s just a lifelong battle now,” he said.

Ryan had been adopted by Mr Davie and his partner Laura six years before and, despite a ‘bad start in life’, he ‘became a loving, caring, sharing child’.

The inquest heard Ryan had turned the oven on at the wrong setting and, along with his adopted sister Abbie, had left some bags in the hallway, leading to a ‘trivial’ telling off.

Ryan was called for tea but there was no response. Laura went up and Mr Davie heard a ‘hysterical scream’.

He said: “I went straight into Ryan’s bedroom and Laura had Ryan in her arms, he was flopped out completely. His lips were black and he was completely unresponsive, we were absolutely distraught.”

Ryan was rushed to Grimsby Hospital shortly before 8pm but died at 6.18pm the next day.

Mr Davie said there had been some sibling rivalry but ‘Ryan’s paddies would not last long’. He said: “He went through a stage of ‘why is it always me being told off and not Abbie’. Abbie was much younger and we talked this through.

“He’d huff and puff but when he knew he was in the wrong he’d take a telling off well. He was noted as unadoptable but he was turning into a wonderful young man.”

The inquest heard that a possible suicide note was found in Ryan’s room, but the contents were not revealed.

Mr Davie said: “I understand there was a note found but I’ve no idea where. I’m convinced there was a piece of work done at school about how to write something telling your parents you’re not going to be with them anymore.

“Ryan’s sense of humour was developing, it was absolutely wicked. A few days before he drew an Adolf Hitler moustache on and acted it out.

“His relationship with his grandad often explored the war and he was being silly.

“I truly believe it (his death) was a prank and a misadventure which went completely wrong. I don’t think his intention was to kill himself.”

Coroner Stuart Fisher recorded an open verdict in the ‘desperately sad’ case.

“I have to be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that he intended to take his own life and I do not think I have that evidence,” he said.

“It seems unfathomable what was going through his mind previous to this event.”