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Health trust failed my son, says mum of transgender suicide victim

By Cate McCurry

Published 08/06/2016

Anguish: Liz Stott
Anguish: Liz Stott
Sebastian (20) was gifted with exceptional academic ability and was also a talented musician and writer

A heartbroken mother believes her transgender child, who took his own life, was discriminated against because of his sexuality.

Born female and known as Sophy Stott, he had been transitioning to become male and was referred to as Sebastian by family and throughout the preliminary proceedings yesterday.

Sebastian (20) was gifted with exceptional academic ability and was also a talented musician and writer - the student had a hugely promising future. The former Methodist College pupil died by suicide on March 19 last year.

His mother, Liz, described the past year as a "living nightmare".

A preliminary hearing ahead of the inquest into his death heard that the music-lover had visited a psychiatrist for his struggles with mental health.

Ms Stott told the court that Sebastian identified himself as male and was "making efforts" to legalise that some six years ago.

Coroner Joe McCrisken said the inquest would explore the medication given to Sebastian leading up to his death and the effects this would have had on his mental health and his state of mind.

The inquest will focus on March 15 and the four days leading up to the fatal incident.

It will also explore the contents of a serious adverse incident which occurred in November 2014.

Coroner McCrisken said: "The serious adverse incident is very important, it gives a lot of background. I will consider the report in its entirety.

"It will give us a flavour of why Sebastian was at the psychiatrist.

"I want to ensure that no other family will have to go through what you went though. I want you to leave thinking things have changed, that problems have been identified and addressed.

"It (the serious adverse incident) will at some point become central to the inquiry."

Speaking after the preliminary inquiry, Ms Stott said she has never received any help from the Belfast Health Trust following her son's death.

For Sebastian's 21st birthday last July, his mother raised money for PIPS suicide prevention charity based on the Antrim Road, Belfast.

"It's a living nightmare. He was my only child. I want transparency and accountability into Sebastian's death. I believe he was discriminated against for his sexuality. So I want to help people for the future - Sebastian would want me to speak up about it."

Ms Stott recalled how Sebastian, who was born a month prematurely weighing just 4lb 2oz, showed exceptional ability from an early age.

"(Sebastian) was forever writing stories and poems and plays and took delight in getting friends involved," she said.

"I was never a linguist or anything, so I was always in awe of his wordiness. I don't know where it came from.

"More than anything, he just bathed in literature and analysing literature."

A spokeswoman for the Belfast Trust said: "Belfast Trust would like to pass on sincere condolences to Sophy's mother and family, however, due to patient/client confidentiality we are unable to discuss any aspect of her treatment or care."

The date for the next preliminary hearing was set for June 21.

  • If you are affected by any of the issues in this article, contact the Samaritans on 084 5790 9090, or Lifeline on 080 8808 8000

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