Mother finds her gay son dead after being dumped by his first boyfriend

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A devastated mother found her son dead in his bedroom after he was dumped by his first boyfriend.

Zenon Bartlett, 16, had just been dumped by his boyfriend and struggled to cope with the news.

He had suffered bullying at school for three years about being gay, and had only recently shared his sexuality publicly.

The shocked mother told a coroner: “Zenon touched so many lives, we are so proud he was part of our family”, on hearing the verdict of suicide.

A coroner heard that Zenon had recently finished school and planned to go to college before university so he could become a barrister.

His ex boyfriend told the coroner he had discussed suicide in the past: “He did mention it quite a lot.

“The first time I didn’t think he was being serious because he seemed happy so I didn’t know where he was getting his feelings from.

“There are so many things I wish I’d done, like ringing him so I could speak to him.

“I feel very bad about the whole situation.”

He told the inquest how he had previously found Zenon in a wooded area with marks on his neck and string hanging from a tree, not long after their relationship ended.

“He never normally went there alone so I asked why he was there.

“I can’t remember his exact words but it was something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to be there anymore’.

“I kind of realised what was happening so I rushed outside and went there and found him sat on the log crying quite a lot.

“I sat there for four or five hours with him talking.

“String was on the branch and he did have a red mark on his neck.

“I had never met his family before. If I had, they would have been the first people I would have gone to.

“I said he needed to speak to a counsellor or a therapist.

“He agreed and sent me a message saying he called some kind of helpline and said he made an appointment, I don’t know if he followed through.”

The teen had come out to close friends shortly before he took his life.

One friend described being pleased he’d shared the news with him, and telling him he shouldn’t be ashamed.

Police investigating the case found he had contacted Childline to talk through his issues, but told the caller he didn’t want to self-harm again.

Rounding up the inquest, Mr Short said: “At the time of his death he was making plans to go to college and had ambitions to train as a lawyer.

“In common with all young people of his age, Zenon was in transition between childhood and adulthood.

“He was trying new things like alcohol and tobacco, things adults use.

“More significantly he had established that he was gay and he had formed a relationship with [redacted].

“Leading up to his death there was an incident where his friend found him sitting opposite a tree with a piece of string on the tree.

“It may be it was a cry for help, it may be it was something else. It may be a trial run for what subsequently happened.

“I find Zenon was a sensitive young man who was affected by the prospect of the end of his relationship.

“However, he was prior to that already showing signs of emotional stress and probably signs of depression.

“Based on all this I conclude Zenon intended to take his own life and I am sure he knew the consequences of his actions. I record a conclusion of suicide.

“Death in these circumstances leaves all sorts of emotions and feelings of missed opportunity.

“I would urge you not to go along that route and remember when Zenon was happy the good times with him.”

Hearing the verdict, his mother said she hopes other young people and their parents will be better able to spot the signs of depression to stop the tragedy being repeated.

If you have been affected by issues in this article, and live in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116 123. If you are a young person in the US in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the Trevor Lifeline now at 866-488-7386. If you are an adult in need of support in the US, please call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-8255.