Mum’s heartbreaking tribute to son as death still under investigation

A ‘funny and clever’ young man died after taking sedative pills allegedly given to him by a friend, an inquest heard.

Zac Cameron Riley, 20, was described by his mum Rebecca as a bright young man who had won a scholarship to study at Bradford Grammar School.

She told an inquest in Bradford into her son’s death that Zac had left that school as he felt he didn’t ‘fit in’ and had gone to North Halifax Grammar School to study photography and media.

Ms Riley described Zac as “very clever” and added: “He left after the first year of sixth form, he would mess around too much.

He was a really funny guy with many friends.”

She said Zac had later got a job drawing up plans for asbestos surveys and had a long-term girlfriend, although he had been suffering from depression and anxiety.

At the age of 16 he had suffered from depression and had started to self-harm, she said in a statement read to the court.

Where to get help if you’re struggling

You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help.

Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email jo@samaritans.org, in confidence

Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill

Platform 1 men’s community group: Support for issues including mental health problems and addiction recovery. Visit the website or call 01484 421143.

Andy’s Man Club: info@andysmanclub.co.uk

PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

Mind: A charity offering support and advice for people with mental health problems.

Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit

Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. There’s a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58

MindOut: Provide support and advice on mental health for members of LGBTQ communities. Phone 01273 234839

The inquest was told that Zac, of Halifax, had died in Calderdale Royal Hospital on December 6 2019 after he had taken some Xanax tablets.

He had been taken to the intensive care unit and had been placed on a ventilator.

Zac had come round and appeared to be getting better, the inquest heard.

He had asked for a pen and paper and wrote down two questions: “Where am I? Am I going to die?”

He had to be sedated again and sadly died on December 6. Doctors and nurses were said to be in ‘complete shock’ that he had died, the inquest was told.

His death had been caused by cardiac instability and the effects of a drug overdose.

Detective Constable Kelly James told the hearing that police were still investigating the circumstances surrounding Zac’s death and how he had come to acquire the tablets.

She had spoken to Zac’s friends and had only recently been given mobile phone records which would help determine whether any criminal acts had been committed.

DC James admitted that she had been “shocked” when asked to attend an inquest as the police investigation had not concluded.

Assistant coroner Anthony Howard told the family that he was not prepared to allow the inquest hearing to continue while the police were still investigating.

He adjourned the case and told DC James that he wanted an update from the police within 14 days.

YorkshireLive – Halifax