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05 April 2024

Jason Pulman: Inquest opens into death of trans teenager

3 mins

Before HM Assistant Coroner Michael Spencer
Opens Monday 8 April 2024 at 10am
Listed for 5 days

Jason Pulman, a 15-year-old trans teenager died a self-inflicted death on 19 April 2022 in East Sussex. His family had reported him missing earlier that day. Now an inquest will open into his death to examine the circumstances.

Jason was the eldest of five siblings. A talented artist, Jason fought for every cause he believed in. His family said he ‘loved all the silliness in the world and using it to make all those around him smile.’

Jason was known to social services his entire life. He had a complex history of trauma and mental ill health, including serious self-harm and substance misuse.

In February 2020, Jason’s GP had referred Jason into the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) subsequently re-referred Jason into GIDS in March 2021. At the time of his death, Jason remained on the waiting list for gender affirming healthcare.

During the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Jason’s mental health further deteriorated and his self-harm intensified.

Jason received on and off support from CAMHS and social services. In October 2021, CAMHS discharged Jason for the final time.

In March 2022, Jason’s school made a safeguarding referral to social services due to concerns shared between Jason’s family and the school. Jason was subsequently due to meet with a social worker in late April 2022.

On the morning of 19 April, Jason’s family found his room empty and reported Jason missing to Sussex Police. Jason’s level of risk as a missing person was classed by the police as ‘medium’ and this assessment was not escalated. Later that day, Jason was found by a member of the public, having applied a ligature in a park.

Jason’s family have serious questions about the care and support he received in the months leading up to his death and the police missing person investigation.

The Article 2 inquest will be held before a jury and will consider:

  • Whether Jason took his own life intending to do so
  • The police response to the missing person report on 19 April 2022
  • The mental healthcare received by Jason via his GP and Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust from September 2021 to the date of his death
  • The attempts to refer Jason to the GIDS clinic

The family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Rachel Harger and Emilia Pearson of Bindmans LLP, and Nick Armstrong KC of Matrix Chambers. They are supported by INQUEST senior caseworker, Jodie Anderson.

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