A teenage photographer commits suicide after his parents confiscated his electronic devices to stop him from always going late to bed. Ceri Sheehan, 15, had objected at first, arguing that he needed to hold on to his iPad but he eventually had to give it up after which he went to bed.
“I took Ceri and a friend to an afternoon session of paintball. When I picked them up they both seemed in good spirits. I asked Ceri if he wanted to go out to eat but he said he’d prefer to stay in. He spent most of the evening in his bedroom,” Ceri’s father said.
On June 11 last year, Ceri’s parents seized his electronic devices because Ceri’s mother Rhian Roberts and father agreed it was the best way to stop him from retiring late.
“Ceri argued that he should be allowed to keep his iPad. This was not unusual and he did give it up. I remember he said ‘oh you don’t understand’ but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.”
The next day Mr Sheehan went downstairs at around 6 a.m. to find all the lights were on but did not find this unusual. He assumed Ceri had gone out to take photographs as he had mentioned he might leave early. He then received a text from Ben Evans, the friend Ceri had been paintballing with the day before, stating he was worried about him. That was when he started to search and noticed his camera was lying on the floor.
“I went outside and saw Ceri hanging…halfway down the garden.”
An ambulance came soon after but he was pronounced dead. A post-mortem exam found the cause of death to be asphyxia. Police officers searched Ceri’s computer and phone and discovered he had been messaging his friend with his phone the evening before he was found dead.
The inquest in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, heard that the teenager had been suffering from depression and had attempted to overdose on pills a year earlier. He was in regular contact with a psychiatrist, a Dr Giovoli, who had diagnosed him with depression, ADHD, and Asperger’s Syndrome. Hertfordshire Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan concluded on Ceri’s death, saying:
“It seemed he struggled with some behavioural problems for a number of years but matters came to a head in 2015 and he began to see a psychiatrist. I can only conclude Ceri did sadly voluntarily do this act which brought about the end of his life.”
“We are devastated by the death of our son and only child Ceri. It was an impulsive act that we are trying to understand but will never come to terms with. Ceri was four months short of his 16th birthday when he tragically took his own life. He was a pupil at St Columba’s College, St Albans and we are grateful to school staff for understanding and supporting his condition. Ceri was an entrepreneurial teenager with a knack for turning his hobby for photography into an embryonic business. It is tragic that a bright, kind and caring boy, with so much potential, was unable to see a future for himself.”