Belfast Telegraph

Amy Gordon's boyfriend weeps at inquest as he tells of finding body

By Cate McCurry

The boyfriend of a Co Tyrone teenager who took her own life broke down in court yesterday as he described how he found her slumped against a bedroom door.

Amy Gordon, who suffered from depression, was found dead at her home hours after an argument with him.

The 18-year-old's devastated mother described her as a promising student who had been battling with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Omagh Court heard how Ryan Kane found her lifeless body on her bedroom floor on the morning of April 14 last year.

Mr Kane said they had fallen out the day before and he had called twice to her flat in Dunbreen Close in the town during the night to make amends, but didn't get a response when he knocked on her bedroom door.

He broke down while describing how he tried to open the door, but after it "slammed shut" he believed a piece of furniture was blocking the entrance.

Amy, who had been accepted to study veterinary nursing, had a history of depression and was being treated by a mental health clinic.

The court heard that she missed several appointments at the clinic in the month before her death.

Mr Kane, who had been a relationship with Amy for a few months, told the court he had been to the Coach Inn with a friend the day before her death.

"When Amy arrived to the Coach Inn we had an argument about going for a meal and I rang my mum to take us to her flat," he said.

"Amy was crying. It was escalating into another argument and I said to her I would go back to the Coach Inn and would let things cool.

"She was crying and upset and didn't want me to go, but I said I would contact her later."

Some hours later Mr Kane tried to contact his girlfriend a number of times through social media, but did not receive a reply.

He told the court he was growing concerned about Amy and went to her flat after 1am.

"The front door was closed but unlocked, which I thought was strange. I went in and started calling her name but got no reply.

"I asked her to come out and sort this out but there was nothing. So I left."

He returned to his mother's home as he believed Amy was "huffing", however he returned to her flat at around 4am as he was becoming more concerned.

"I tried to open the bedroom door but it slammed shut. I thought she closed it and that she didn't want me to come in," he said.

Asked by Amy's family barrister Michael Forde why he didn't go into the bedroom, Mr Kane said: "I didn't want to barge on in. I was trying the calm approach rather than all guns blazing. I did try the door but I thought there was furniture."

He left some hours later and returned to his mother's house.

Asked about his knowledge of her mental state, Mr Kane said he knew she had "been down".

"I went home and told my mum about the front door being unlocked," he added.

Mr Kane and his mother Mairead Devine went to her flat shortly before midday.

Mr Kane said: "Her flat seemed cold and eerie. I went to her bedroom door and mum was trying to talk to her through the door.

"I opened it and she was lying towards the wall.

"I was shaking her shoulder, she felt cold and I knew she was gone. I screamed and mum screamed."

Following his evidence, Mr Forde said Amy's family had been left with many "unanswered questions" surrounding her death.

A post-mortem revealed the antidepressant Sertraline in her system, although her GP told the court this was not prescribed to her.

Police who attended the scene did not treat it as suspicious and as a result did not seize Amy's phone or laptop.

That decision, however, was criticised by Coroner Joe McCrisken, who said he was "disappointed" no electronic devices were examined by police.

Amy's mother Ciara Donnelly said that her death came as a "shock".

"I can't sleep at night in case I get news that one of my other daughters is dead," she said.

"It was completely devastating, it's a thing of nightmares."

The court heard that Amy "struggled" with her feelings and had issues with her anger and self-esteem, and also had family problems.

Ms Donnelly added that after her daughter started going out with Mr Kane she became a "completely different girl".

"I adored Amy and her sisters. They are my babies and I would give me last breath for them, always have and always will," she said.

She denied suggestions her daughter intended to take her own life.

Months after Amy's death, Ms Donnelly approached police to raise concerns about her daughter's death which prompted a CID investigation, although no criminal acts were established.

Mr McCrisken said he was satisfied that Amy did not intend to take her own life.

He also stated that he found parts of Mr Kane's evidence to be "unreliable".

He added: "Eighteen is far too young to die, particularly the potential she had."

Belfast Telegraph

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