Artist Alison Lapper’s son ‘driven to drink and drugs by bullies’

Artist Alison Lapper’s son ‘driven to drink and drugs by bullies’

The teenage son of the disabled artist Alison Lapper had taken a cocktail with prescription drugs before his death.

Parys Lapper, who appeared on BBC1’s A Child of Our Time, had suffered from mental health problems for years.

The 19-year-old had been bullied and ill-treated at school for his mother’s disability and turned to alcohol and drugs to cope.

However, he became heavily addicted to drugs and dropped out of school when his life got out of hand.

He was treated by mental health services but was released on August 1, a few days before his death.

An investigation into his death found that the teen had taken several prescription drugs in addition to heroin in the hours before his death.

Parys Lapper, 19, (picture left) was found dead in a hotel room in Worthing. His mother, the disabled artist Alison Lapper (55) (pictured right), told an investigation that her son had failed the mental health services prior to his death

Artist Alison Lapper and partner Si Clift leave the West Sussex Coroners Court in Crawley today after investigating the death of their son Parys

Artist Alison Lapper and partner Si Clift leave the West Sussex Coroners Court in Crawley today after investigating the death of their son Parys

Miss Lapper, 55, an artist born with no arms or shortened legs due to an illness called Phocomelia, famously posed naked for a marble sculpture while pregnant with Parys. The sculpture by artist Marc Quinn was later exhibited on the fourth pedestal in Trafalgar Square between 2005 and 2007 (picture)

Miss Lapper, 55, an artist born with no arms or shortened legs due to an illness called Phocomelia, famously posed naked for a marble sculpture while pregnant with Parys. The sculpture by artist Marc Quinn was later exhibited on the fourth pedestal in Trafalgar Square between 2005 and 2007 (picture)

The hearing was told that Parys had been prescribed several drugs – including drugs to treat anxiety – from his GP and mental health team at Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.

But Parys was “desperate for drugs” and paid to be Dr. Richard Duffett – a private psychiatrist on Harley Street – who independently prescribed a potent anti-anxiety pill.

The investigation was told they were duplicates as Parys was already being prescribed the same drugs by his mental health team.

The investigation was told that he had misused the medication and taken a series of anti-anxiety pills at once.

The teenager was found dead from a drug overdose on August 13, 2019 at a hotel in Worthing, West Sussex.

Parys’ family believe the worried teenager had failed mental health services prior to his death, and his mother Alison previously informed the Crawley, West Sussex investigation that she had very serious concerns about his treatment.

She said bad decisions had been made and claimed that several important opportunities to help her son had been tragically missed.

In a statement she said: “Tragically, this should never have happened. I feel like Parys has been disappointed with social services and big changes are needed to prevent this from happening to any other child. ‘

Miss Lapper, 55, an artist born with no arms and shortened legs due to phocomelia, famously posed naked while pregnant with Parys for a marble sculpture.

The sculpture by artist Marc Quinn was later exhibited on the fourth pedestal in Trafalgar Square between 2005 and 2007.

Miss Lapper (left) previously shared how Parys was horribly bullied and ridiculed as a child. She told the Crawley investigation that her son (right) started smoking cannabis and drinking heavily as a coping mechanism

Miss Lapper (left) previously shared how Parys was horribly bullied and ridiculed as a child. She told the Crawley investigation that her son (right) started smoking cannabis and drinking heavily as a coping mechanism

Miss Lapper had previously told the investigation that Parys was a normal, happy boy who took care of his appearance and loved life.

However, by the time he entered his teenage years, his behavior started to deteriorate and he was less social and happy.

She said severe bullying he suffered at school left him suffering from anxiety and depression.

She told the investigation, as a coping mechanism, that her son started smoking cannabis and drinking a lot, and as this increased, he stopped washing and fending for himself.

The investigation found that his behavior deteriorated and he stopped going to school and interacting with friends.

The worried teen began to stay in bed all day and his weight dropped when he stopped eating normally and had panic attacks.

He has been diagnosed with a catalog of medical conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and ADHD.

At the age of 17, Parys’ behavioral and mental health problems worsened and he was placed under the Mental Health Act at Worthing Hospital.

From there he was transferred to Chalkhill on Haywards Heath – a leading hospital for the treatment of children and adolescents with mental health problems – where he received a treatment program.

The hearing was told that he would then be transferred to a center for young people with behavioral problems in Bognor Regis.

Miss Lapper said she felt the placement was wrong as the main focus of the unit was on keeping the room clean, shopping and taking care of themselves.

However, Parys found it almost impossible to take care of himself, and his mother stepped in to help him.

Although he attended appointments with a psychiatrist, his condition continued to deteriorate.

Miss Lapper said to the hearing: “He had suicidal thoughts because nobody was listening to him.”

She said when Parys turned 18 she had no say in his medical treatment.

Miss Lapper said his behavior had become more and more erratic and she had been given packages of drugs at home that her son had ordered from the Internet.

Parys was found a place in a supported housing unit but then moved in with a man named Terry whom he met on the Craigslist website.

The teenager would tell people that Terry was his uncle, but the hearing was told that the couple had met on the website that linked people offering sexual favors for drugs.

Parys' family believe the worried teenager had failed mental health services prior to his death, and his mother Alison had previously advised the Crawley, West Sussex investigation that she had very serious concerns about his treatment

Parys’ family believe the worried teenager had failed mental health services prior to his death, and his mother Alison had previously advised the Crawley, West Sussex investigation that she had very serious concerns about his treatment

Miss Lapper said Parys kept asking her for money and asking her to put money into Terry’s bank account.

The investigation was told that when his NHS psychiatrist refused to give him the schizophrenia drugs he had requested, he found a private psychiatrist and started a course on various drugs.

Parys was released from mental health service on July 25, 2019 and was living in a temporary accommodation hotel in Worthing, West Sussex.

The teenager was found dead 18 days later at the Wolsey Hotel from an alleged accidental drug overdose.

His psychiatrist Dr. Arun Ravivarman, of Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, told the investigation he did not know if he would be alive if Parys had not been released.

The investigation continues.

For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritan office or click here for details.


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