A TEENAGER who did not receive counselling he had been referred for took his own life.

Lauruell Clarke was found dead at his home in Clayton Way, Hove, on October 11 last year.

His father Raymond Clarke returned home just after 7am and discovered the 14-year-old hanging from a loft hatch.

Mr Clarke called the emergency services but Lauruell was beyond help.

An inquest into his death at Brighton Coroner’s Court yesterday heard Lauruell had been referred to the East Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) after he took an overdose of paracetamol in March last year.

Lauruell was seen on April 29 by the CAMHS duty team and was assessed as being low risk, with no diagnosis of a mental health condition.

It was agreed he should have counselling through his school’s health and wellbeing service, but the referral was never made.

Peter Joyce, general manager at East Sussex CAMHS, said: “It was identified in our investigation that the worker did not process that information and send it across.

“The risk assessment was started but not signed off.”

Senior coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley described the missed referral as a “clear failing” on behalf of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: “Something went completely wrong.

“This was a substantial missed opportunity in a straightforward case where decisions were made quickly and it was such a waste of good initial input.”

The court heard Mr Clarke had called CAMHS on October 10, the day before Lauruell was found dead, to say he was worried about his son being anxious and to ask why no counselling had been arranged.

A tracker on Lauruell’s phone showed he had walked home from school on October 10 but there was no more activity after 5.53pm.

Mr Clarke had invited his son out to play basketball after school but Lauruell had declined and Mr Clarke had accidentally fallen asleep at a friend’s house and not returned until the next morning.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide and said: “I believe this was a spontaneous decision. I don’t believe these were arrangements Lauruell had planned for.

"The tracker on his phone recorded no more activity after 17.23 and I believe this was the time of his death. Even if Mr Clarke had returned home that evening when he intended to, it still would have been too late.

"We do know there were issues in his life. Lauruell was referred to the CAMHS service and he had a good early assessment, despite the pressures on the service.

"Mr Joyce told me Lauruell was likely to have received counselling before his death, if the referral had been made.

"I cannot say the outcome would have been different but there’s a possibility it could have been.

"I’ve been told that steps are now in place to make sure this does not happen again."

At the inquest Lauruell was described as "a high achiever who was loved and admired".

Ms Hamilton-Deeley added: "There are so many pressures on young people these days, I’m never quite sure how they cope with them all.”

If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. The charity is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.