Teenager’s anguish over £500 loan debt

A Chapel-en-le-Frith teenager was found hanged at his home after becoming the victim of a loan fraud, an inquest heard.

Friday, 28th February 2014, 8:00 am

Nineteen-year-old Jack Morris had been named as a guarantor on a £500 loan but when the loan applicant defaulted on the payments, the money was taken out of Jack’s account, the Chesterfield inquest heard. He also received text messages from the loan company about the debt.

Describing the days before Jack died, his sister Terri-Louise Morris, whom he lived with, told the inquest: “Overall he seemed his usual self. He wasn’t depressed or anything like that. He was just a happy 19-year-old boy.”

On the day Jack died, he and his family had attended a charity football match in Chapel before going for a few drinks at a local pub. Later in the evening, the family went to his sister Sarah-Jayne’s house for a takeaway as it was her birthday, but Jack said he was going to go home to chill out, Terri-Louise added.

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Police were investigating the loan fraud but on June 4, 2012, Terri-Louise and her partner Gary Waterhouse returned to their Hordens Road home to find him hanging from the bannister.

Gary and a neighbour tried to resuscitate him before paramedics arrived but sadly, there was nothing that could be done.

Gary said: “If there was one person who I never thought would do something like that, it was Jack.”

Recording a narrative conclusion, assistant coroner for Derbyshire James Newman said: “I’ve heard a lot of evidence about Jack as a fun-loving lad, a loveable rogue.

“He was a young man with his life in front of him, with a sensible head on his shoulders but who enjoyed life.

“At some point a loan was taken out where Jack was named as a guarantor. We are unable to confirm whether Jack was aware or involved in this or whether he fully understood what was going on.

“This is the only thing that I can see that really was concerning him at that time. There doesn’t seem to be any history of anxiety problems.

“I don’t think I have enough evidence before me to say that Jack actively took steps to take his own life. It is entirely possible that this was a cry for help that went wrong. Jack must have known that the family were coming home, probably very shortly. It may have been a cry for help but we will never know.”

Speaking after the inquest, Jack’s mum Julie paid tribute to her much-loved son saying: “He was just wonderful. He had so many friends, he was our little joker.”