Southsea teenager Robert Robbins took his own life after tragic battle with drug addiction, coroner rules

A ‘MUCH-LOVED’ teenager who had desperately been trying to beat his drug addiction took his own life after being unable to give up his habit, an inquest has heard.

By Tom Cotterill
Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 5:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 7:47 pm

Popular Robert ‘Robbie’ Robbins was found hanged in Foxes Forest, Hilsea, on the evening of October 8, 2020.

An inquest into the 18-year-old apprentice electrician’s death heard he had been battling for months to try and quit his recreational use of ketamine, with a coroner concluding he had intended to take his own life.

The teenager’s heartbroken parents Paul and Tracey Robbins have now spoken out of their loss for the first time.

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Robert Robbins, 18, pictured on holiday. The teenager of Southsea was found dead on October 8 in Hilsea. A coroner concluded he took his own life.

In a joint statement to The News, they said: ‘Robert was a great son with a very kind heart who always saw the good in everyone.

‘He was full of love, caring to others and fun to be with. He leaves behind two brothers and two sisters as well as nieces and nephews and we are all truly devastated at the loss and heartache his passing has brought upon us.

‘We loved Rob dearly, carry him in our hearts and think of him everyday. Our family will never be the same again. He will always be loved and missed by all that knew him.’

Winchester Coroners’ Court heard that Mr Robbins of Talbot Road, Southsea, had started taking the class B drug in early 2020.

But the teen had suffered from crippling stomach pain as a result of his drug abuse.

The pain had been so intense he was forced to go to Queen Alexandra Hospital on July 8 with acute ‘epigastric pain’.

During a call to his GP on July 22 he admitted he had been ‘abusing ketamine for the last four months and felt it was responsible for all his symptoms and that he would like to stop abusing the drug,’ coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp said.

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He was referred to addiction specialists at the Southsea-based Recovery Hub. But despite this, Mr Robbins was unable to stop taking the drug.

Things came to a head after the 18-year-old moved out of the family home in Paulsgrove to a shared flat in Southsea in late September.

In the days before his death, Mr Robbins called in sick and failed to attend work, with his best friend and colleague, Wes Street, saying the teenager’s mood appeared ‘low’.

On October 7, Mr Street became panicked and called police after not being able to find his friend.

In a statement, read out by Mrs Rhodes-Kemp, Mr Street said: ‘Part of the reason I had been so worried was that Robert had previously spoken to me about trying to kill himself by taking an overdose a few months ago.’

Mr Robbins’s body was found the next day.

Detective Sergeant David Midgley told the inquest there had been no ‘third party involvement’ in the teen’s death.

‘My view was that the deceased took his own life by hanging,’ he said.

A post-mortem examination of Mr Robbin’s body concluded he died from injuries suffered by hanging.

Toxicology results found traces of ketamine at ‘therapeutic levels’ in his body and no trace of alcohol in his blood.

Mrs Rhodes-Kemp said the teenager’s drug use, while not the main cause of his death, had ‘played a part’ in it and concluded Mr Robbie had intended to take his own life.

‘He was clearly not happy with being involved with the drug,’ she added. ‘He wanted to give it up. He was experiencing abdominal pains which are one of the side effects of ketamine.

‘He was unwell and must have been feeling in a bad place not being able to give up something that he wanted to give up.

‘Robert was clearly much-loved and popular and had his whole life ahead of him. For this to have happened to him is just desperately, desperately sad.’

n Help is available at the Samaritans by calling 116 123 or emailing [email protected]

n For support with drug or alcohol addiction, call the Recovery Hub on 023 9229 4573

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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