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'This could happen to anyone, talk to your children' - Couple's plea after son's inquest

PUBLISHED: 16:27 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:30 28 January 2020

Jake Fleckney  Picture courtesy of the Fleckney family

Jake Fleckney Picture courtesy of the Fleckney family

Archant

A heartbroken couple paid tribute to their son before urging parents to talk to their children and not leave them in their bedrooms playing computer games.

Jake Fleckney, 15, was found hanging at his home in Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalene, near King's Lynn, on September 3 last year.

He was later pronounced dead at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, an inquest heard on Friday.

In a statement read out in court, his mother Jemma said he had been bullied whilst attending Downham Market High School from Year Seven and in March 2016 had said he was unhappy and wanted to kill himself.

Mrs Fleckney said things began to improve after Jake transferred to the Iceni Academy at Methwold later that year.

She said he had made friends and hoped to go on a cookery course.

Mrs Fleckney said her son was a loving boy who was kind to his younger brother.

"He loved his animals, bike riding, walking and kayaking," she said. "He loved his gaming chats to people on his headphones."

Jake was disappointed after getting a lower than expected grade in an English exam, the coroner heard.

Mrs Fleckney, 37, found her son hanging in the garden of their home after she returned from work on the afternoon of September 3.

The court heard Jake enjoyed playing games and chatting on his Playstation.

Police found no suicide note or message on his gaming console indicating that he intended to take his own life.

But a friend later told them Jake had referred to taking his own life and had expressed suicidal thoughts in a message on August 28, which he did not take seriously.

Duncan Carmichael, vice principal at Iceni Academy, said Jake had had no issues with his attitude, mental health or behaviour at the school.

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, recorded a narrative verdict that Jake hanged himself but said she did not find that he intended to end his own life.

After the hearing, Jake's father Neil, 38, said: "I worry that this could happen to anyone. We're a fairly normal family, we went on holiday, we did activities with our kids then this happens out of the blue.

"I think it was an impulsive thing. Whether someone sent him a message, whether he lost on his game or something."

Mrs Fleckney said she believed mobile phones and computers had broken down communications between children and their parents.

Her husband added: "Talk to your children, ask them if they're OK."

The Samaritans can be contacted for free at any time by calling 116 123.

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