Inquest opens for Leighton Buzzard teen found in tent

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The Leighton Buzzard schoolboy who was found dead in his tent at the Reading Festival with a plastic carrier bag around his head as he lay in a remote part of the site, a coroner heard.

Seventeen-year-old Matthew Jones had left the main festival arena on his own and walked across a bridge over the River Thames to the exclusive white zone camping area.

The inquest opening on Tuesday heard that Matthew was found by friends who went to his tent to check on him at about 2am.

He was motionless and unresponsive, with the plastic carrier bag tied over his head. He was not breathing.

The coroner heard that a post mortem examination carried out on Matthew’s body by a pathologist at the mortuary of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, was unable to discover an exact cause of death. A full inquest on January 10 next year will rule on whether the teenager deliberately killed himself by suffocation or whether there was some other explanation.

The inquest opening in Oxford heard that Matthew had been camping in the white zone area of the music festival – the furthest and most private camping area across the Berkshire border in Oxfordshire with friends when the tragic events occurred.

The inquest heard that on Sunday, August 27 Matthew, from Albany Road, had left the main arena and gone back to the campsite on his own. He was pronounced dead by paramedics at 2.17am on Monday August 28. His body was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital mortuary on August 29 where his parents, Sophie and Steven, identified him.

Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter read out a report from a Detective Constable working on the case. He said: “A 17-year-old gentleman was at Reading Festival with friends. On Sunday August 27 he left the main arena and went back to the campsite. Later, in the early hours of the following day, his friends went to check on him in his tent next to theirs. At 01.55am they discovered a carrier bag tied over his head in his tent. He was unresponsive and not breathing.”

Due to the circumstances, there had been a post-mortem examination but there was not enough evidence to conclude a cause of death.