A FAMILY were left devastated by the tragic death of a much-loved son and brother aged just 21, an inquest has heard.

The body of Owen Little was discovered in his flat on London Road, Carlisle on January 23. Concerned family and friends had used a crowbar and kicked the door to gain access after becoming worried as he hadn’t turned up for work.

The inquest, held at Cockermouth Coroners’ Court on Thursday, heard a written statement from Owen’s sister Natalie Thompson, who described the moment they entered the terraced property and found his body inside. She added that he’d suffered from anxiety in the past. “I was worried he might have done something stupid,” she said.

Evidence was heard from PC Carruthers of Cumbria Police, who responded to the initial emergency call at around 3.30pm. Upon arrival, he checked Owen’s body. The presence of suicide notes was recorded by police.

Owen’s adopted mum, Gillian Little, also provided a written statement to the inquest.

She said that Owen had been born in Southampton and was very premature. He had been transferred to their care in Cumbria as a baby.

“He was a happy little boy,” she said. “He loved running around in high heels and dresses and was very in touch with his feminine side.” She added that he enjoyed school, and made ‘quite an impression’ on his teachers, who took a shine to him. “One teacher even came to his funeral,” she said.

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He went to high school at St John Henry Newman. His mother said he suffered from bullying during his last few years there. He then went on to Carlisle College, where he studied childcare, before starting work at the Burger King at Southwaite services. He began on the counter, but was promoted and became shift manager.

“Everyone at Burger King loved him,” she said, adding that the team socialised outside of work.

But he had to spend Christmas 2021 alone as he caught Covid, and his mother also confirmed that he’d experienced mental health issues – though evidence from his GP, Dr John French of Dalston Medical Group, found that he had never sought professional help.

Coroner Robert Cohen said that the post-mortem examination found that the medical cause of death was hanging. Due to the presence of a suicide note, and messages that Owen had sent to friends and family on social media to tell them he loved them, Mr Cohen said that he was satisfied that the conditions were met for him to record a conclusion of suicide.

He added his condolences to Owen’s family and those who loved him. “It has left a hole in your lives and I’m very sorry for your loss,” he said.

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