Cheddar teen’s death leaves unanswered questions

Rasmus Barlow

Rasmus Barlow - Credit: Archant

A ‘kind’ and ‘generous’ teen whose body was found in Cheddar Gorge died of a traumatic head injury, but the events leading up to his death are still unknown, an inquest has heard.

An inquest into the death of 16-year-old Rasmus Barlow – known as Ras – was held at Wells Coroners Court on Tuesday.

Rasmus went missing on November 2, 2015 and his body was found two days later.

Speaking at the time, Rasmus’ family described him as ‘truly unique’ and added: “It is impossible to put into words what we are feeling and how much Ras will be missed.

“All we can do now is celebrate his life and remember him for the kind, generous, quirky individual he was and all the fantastic times we had.”

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A post mortem confirmed Rasmus died of injuries sustained from a fall.

Police evidence shared with the court revealed the teenager had earlier searched online for ‘cyanide’ and ‘suicide’, while Detective Sergeant Chris Williams also said he ‘appeared to be upset’ in an exchange of text messages with a girl.

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However, coroner Tony Williams said it was ‘not possible’ to know why he was on the cliffs.

The teen lived in Cheddar with his older brother Simon, and his father Steve Barlow, who reported him missing. Mr Barlow told police nothing was out of the ordinary until Rasmus failed to return home.

Mr Barlow’s statement said: “I got ready for work as normal, we had breakfast together and he walked off toward the bus stop, which was the last time I saw him.”

CCTV showed Rasmus get off the bus, and catch two more. He was last seen walking into the gorge.

His body was found by climber Paul Ballantyne. His statement said: “I was looking out across the gorge and at the bottom of the quarry, there was a black object that seemed out of place. I turned to my colleague and said ‘I hope that’s a goat’.”

Coroner Mr Williams concluded: “I have come to a narrative conclusion; it is not possible to know why Ras had been on the cliffs that day and how he came to fall.”

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