Parents tell inquest of tragic loss of football loving son to drugs

THE parents of a promising teenage footballer today (Friday, December 7) told an inquest how his his life was destroyed by drugs. 

Ryan Joseph Gunn was previously been captain of the under-16 Middlesbrough Football Club in the Community team and had been passionate about the sport.

However, his mother Kathleen Pain told the Teesside inquest: "In the last year or so, his attitude had changed dramatically.

"He became a different person, he was always angry and constantly asking for money. I would try to cheer him up by buying him clothes but it did not work and I think he sold them for drugs.”

 “As a child, Ryan was a really good kid. He loved football and would have made an excellent footballer."

Ryan died on September 13 2011, two days after being admitted to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

The 17-year-old, who lived with his family at Kimberley Drive in Pallister Park, Middlesbrough, was found unconscious and without a pulse in his girlfriend’s bedroom at nearby Somerby Terrace on the afternoon of September 11.

Naomi Blackburn told how she noticed he was not breathing after failing to rouse him from his sleep.

A post-mortem showed Ryan had cocaine and diazepam in his system.

Pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton said that either one of the drugs could have caused his heart to stop.

Although he was revived by paramedics, he suffered severe brain damage and died two days later from pneumonia.

Miss Blackburn said that Ryan had told her that he had taken cocaine with friends the night before his collapse.

He arrived at her house later the same night and the couple argued after he emerged from her toilet with white powder around his nose and said he had taken what he believed to be Subutex, a drug similar to heroin.

His father Paul Gunn told the inquest: “In the last few months he got worse, staying out all night and sleeping all day. 

"He was not the boy I knew. His eyes were always blood shot and he lost weight. People would come to my house and ask for money to pay off his drugs debts.”

Teesside’s Coroner, Michael Sheffield, recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

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