Mystery over death of ‘extremely intelligent’ pupil found hanged

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MYSTERY still surrounds the death of an “extremely intelligent” teenage boy who was found hanged in his room five months ago.

Isaac Atkinson, 14, was discovered by his father, university professor Paul Atkinson, at home
in Burnlee Road, Holmfirth, in June.

An inquest heard yesterday that Isaac had been playing drums in his bedroom shortly before the tragedy.

A neighbour said he had shared a joke with him earlier, describing him as a “quiet and intelligent lad”.

At some point in the evening, the drumming stopped and Isaac’s father discovered his son suspended by a neck tie from a bed.

Mr Atkinson lifted his son down and attempted resuscitation but Isaac died later at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

The cause of death was given as asphyxia caused by hanging.

The hearing, at Huddersfield Coroner’s Court, heard that detectives had found no information to suggest why he had apparently taken his own life.

No suicide note was found and there was no indication as to Isaac’s intentions.

A detective constable who investigated the circumstances ruled out any third party involvement and concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Isaac’s death.

West Yorkshire coroner Peter Straker said he could not record a verdict of suicide because he would have to be satisfied that Isaac had carried out an act with the intention of ending his life.

Mr Straker said he had no evidence relating to Isaac’s intentions, “although it might seem likely that was the intended outcome, the law is clear – I need evidence of intent. I can’t return a verdict of suicide,” he added.

Mr Straker said he was considering a narrative verdict that Isaac died as a result of an act of self-harm.

But the coroner decided instead to record an open verdict after consulting a family member.

Mr Straker asked for his condolences to be passed to Isaac’s parents, Paul Atkinson and Elizabeth Mason, who did not attend the hearing.

At the time of their son’s death, one of the tributes to him was from Gail Howe, acting headteacher at Holmfirth High School, who said: “Isaac was an extremely intelligent, funny, lively and caring student and he had a bright future ahead of him. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends.”