A teenager accidentally died at home in a darkened room when a sex act went wrong, an inquest has heard.
Joshua Deacon, 17, was discovered on his bedroom floor after suffering asphyxiation by hanging.
A coroner described Joshua as ‘a very lovely young man, who his parents could be proud of.’
An inquest into his death heard how a worried friend had raised the alarm after texting and phoning him and getting no response, Stoke on Trent live reports.
Support worker Julia Buiskool then went to the flat in Stoke-on-Trent, where all the doors and windows were secure. The place was in darkness and she got no reply when she called through the letterbox.
After checking with Joshua’s family, who also hadn’t heard from him, she informed her duty team before using a spare key to let herself into the property.
“I used a light on my phone to locate the light in the hall,” said Ms Buiskool in a statement. “As the light came on, I could see there was something wrong.”
She found Joshua and called the emergency services. But by then, the teenager had already died.
There were items consistent with ‘autoerotic paraphernalia’ at the scene, the inquest heard.
In a report, Detective Constable Tammy Fullwood said: “The hypothesis was that Joshua was engaging in autoerotic asphyxiation and his death was accidental.”
A search of his laptop and mobile phone revealed he had saved the address of a porn website and had also made a search related to strangulation.
Joshua had a history of self-harm, although this was thought to be “largely superficial in nature”.
He was last seen alive several hours before his body was found on December 2. A neighbour had spotted him walking past her window.
On November 30, Joshua had stayed at a friend’s home and had mentioned to him he’d taken several paracetamol tablets. When asked why he had done this, he replied he was ‘bored’.
The friend got up the following morning to find him still asleep on the sofa. Joshua woke up and then left.
His friend later tried to contact him and became increasingly worried when he got no response.
Recording a conclusion of misadventure, North Staffordshire assistant coroner Sarah Murphy told his family: “It is clear that Joshua was a very lovely young man, who his parents could be proud of.”
She said she’d considered whether he had intended to deliberately end his life. Although he had taken the pills several days earlier, there was no evidence he was ‘”low in mood”.
Ms Murphy said the death was “more likely than not” linked to autoerotic asphyxiation.