ALISON Lapper has spoken about her battle to save her drug addicted son who she said was barely able to wash himself when he died.

The artist spoke out after her 19-year-old son Parys, who suffered from mental health problems, was found dead in a hotel room in August.

Lapper, 54, who was born without arms and with shortened legs, became one of the most famous women in Britain when she was immortalised by artist Marc Quinn in a sculpture at Trafalgar Square.

Her son began smoking cannabis aged 11 and by the time he was 16, his drug use and mental health problems meant he was moved into a special unit at school.

After that his situation spiralled downwards and despite her pleas for help, her son was treated as a “naughty boy”, she told the Telegraph.

“I am not trained in mental health. When it got bad, he struggled with me, I struggled with him, we struggled with the situation together,” she said.

“And when he got to 18, he was considered an adult, and yet he couldn’t even wash. But I wasn’t allowed to have a say.”

She revealed that her son was taunted at school over her disability and he started smoking cannabis.

By the time he was 14 or 15 “dodgy” people started knocking on the front door asking her for money.

“Mum, if you don’t pay these people, they are going to beat me up,” she said he told her.

Alison says her son was let down by the system and is campaigning with charity YoungMinds for the next government to ensure better mental health provision 14 to 25-year-olds.

Parys was eventually sectioned and assigned a support worker who had a 40-person caseload, and moved around until his death in Worthing.

Earlier this year she revealed Parys was placed in an anorexia unit before his death despite never having the eating disorder.

“It felt never-ending. Every time he was moved, there was a new doctor, a new psychiatrist,” she said.

The pair had been on a day trip to Brighton shortly before Parys died and Alison has said “he was back to my laughing, very funny Parys”.

But then she heard the awful news when two police officers knocked on her door.

“I howled and howled. I can’t believe he’s gone,” she said.

“I can’t believe I have lost him. But I just can’t sit and do nothing. Why would I let other parents go through the hell that I am going through?”