Edward Barry inquest: Gravesend teenager stole £180 from his grandmother

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A GRAVESEND teenager who died from a drug overdose hit "rock bottom" stealing money from his grandmother, an inquest heard.

Edward Barry was 14 when he was found dead at a flat in Parrock Street on November 20, 2009 with fatal levels of methadone and traces of diazepam in his body.

His mother Justine told an inquest at Gravesend Town Hall this morning that her son was finally "clear in his mind" when she spoke to him for the last time just two days before his death.

A spiral of drinking, drug taking and underage sex had begun when the Gravesend Grammar School pupil was just 11-years-old, a jury of six men and five women was told.

But the youngster showed signs of having turned a corner on November 18, just days after returning to the family home in Pelham Road South while hallucinating from drugs and boasting about shoplifting from Primark, the inquest heard.

Mrs Barry said: "He told me he had got a normal job at a general store.

"He was going to start saving some money and get it together.

"He seemed clearer in his mind than he had for some time."

On November 1, 2009 the former star student stole his grandmother's bank card and withdrew £180, the inquest heard.

He later admitted the theft and told a social worker he planned to pay back the money before his parents had a talk with him, the jury was told.

Mrs Barry said: "We told Edward no matter how many mistakes he kept making, me and his Dad loved him and would support him and there was always the opportunity to make a fresh start."

She was shocked when Edward told her - at the age of 13 in July 2009 - he was involved in sexual relationships with older men, the jury heard.

Mrs Barry said: "Edward came home and he was very, very high and obviously under the influence of some sort of drug.

"He described quite vividly sexual acts he had been having with older adult men.

"I thought he was being used in order to get the drugs because we weren't giving him any money."

The teenager's parents first became worried about when their son made a new group of friends at school and took up free running at aged 11, the jury was told.

He returned home one day in early 2009 with packets of condoms having began a relationship with a girl named as M the previous Christmas which quickly became sexual, the court heard.

Mrs Barry added: "It was like a bag of sweets to him.

"There never seemed to be that message from school that this is wrong and you shouldn't be doing it; it was more 'well, you are doing it.'"

Edward was a self harmer, would steal items from the family home to sell for drugs and would have to be reported missing to police up to four times a week when he would stay out until the early hours of the morning, the court was told.

Edward's father Patrick was also present at the inquest, which is expected to last more than two weeks.

The inquest continues.

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