Alison Lappers son Parys died of accidental overdose

Alison Lappers son Parys died of accidental overdose

The son of artist Alison Lapper was not ready to be helped when he died from a drug overdose, a coroner has concluded.

Penelope Schofield said Parys Lapper had “complex mental health issues” when he died in 2019, aged 19, at a hotel in Worthing, West Sussex.

But she said despite his mother’s concern at a lack of help for him, there appeared to be no provision for people “who choose not to engage”.

The coroner said there was no evidence Parys had taken his own life.

Parys, who was one of the children featured on the BBC’s millennial “growing-up” series Child of Our Time, was found dead at the Wolsey Hotel in Worthing, just a few miles from the family home in Shoreham-by-Sea.

The inquest heard he had ingested heroin and diazepam.

In her narrative verdict, Ms Schofield said Parys had developed “an excessive use of illicit substances and prescribed medication” from an early age.

He had initially been under the care of child and adolescent mental-health services before switching to adult services after his 18th birthday.

Ms Lapper, who became a high-profile figure after posing nude, while pregnant with Parys, for a sculpture in Trafalgar Square, had previously criticised his “appalling” mental-health care since his secondary school days.

But addressing his mother, Ms Schofield said: “I do understand… that you feel aggrieved at the services for not doing more to protect your son, but having explored this, it does appear that there is no recognised provision out there for young people who misuse substances but who choose not to engage.”

The coroner added: “Many people had tried to help him along the way, but for whatever reason, at the time of his death, he was not ready to be helped.”

She expressed concern that Parys had been able to “play the system”, obtaining duplicate prescriptions from several sources to feed his addiction, although she acknowledged she could find no “direct causative link” to his death from any prescription drug.

She said he must have got the heroin from an illegal source but it was less clear where the diazepam had come from.

But Ms Schofield added: “There must be a way to improve the current system to prevent this occurring, and this will be the subject of a prevention of future death report.”

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