A transgender teenager, who was found dead in his home in High Wycombe, took his own life by hanging, an inquest heard just days after Wycombe celebrated its first Pride event.

Leo Etherington, born Louise, was found in his bedroom in May this year by his father Martin, who became worried after the 15-year-old did not answer his calls to come down for dinner.

The inquest heard that Leo struggled with gender identity issues since the age of eight and felt he “should have been born a boy”.

The Wycombe High School pupil sadly lost his mother to breast cancer in 2012, when he was 11, with Mr Etherington arranging for counselling for his children following her death.

Giving evidence read out by the coroner’s officer, Mr Etherington said Leo, then Louise, told him in 2013 that she was gay.

He said: “I told her I still loved her and arranged for counselling to help her deal with this and my wife’s death.

“Louise asked at school if she could be referred to as Alex. She was comfortable enough to come out at school but not at home.

“She was trying not to upset me and was trying to protect me.”

Mr Etherington said Leo told him he was transgender one afternoon after school, to which he said he would love and support him. He said he chose Leo as his new name as he felt Alex was “too gender neutral”.

They told Leo’s brother Robert of the change. Leo started using his new name around the house and at school.

Mr Etherington added: “The school told him he had to be 16 to change his name. He said he was angry with the school.

“I asked him if I should speak to them and he said no. I said we could wait until he was 16 and then change his name.”

Leo was also told by his doctor that the NHS would not pay for any surgery he wanted to have, so Mr Etherington told him he would pay for any surgery.

The day before Leo’s death, Mr Etherington said he received a message on Facebook from a stranger purporting that Leo was in a “relationship of sorts” with their 13-year-old daughter, and had exchanged “inappropriate” pictures and messages with her.

He asked Leo about it who denied any knowledge of the messages and pictures.

On the day of his death, Mr Etherington said Leo was “joking around” with the family during lunch, after which he went up to his room to revise at around 1.30pm.

Mr Etherington called both his children down for dinner later that day – Robert came down but he did not hear from Leo so he went upstairs.

He said: “I knocked on his door but it was locked, which was not unusual. I got out a coin to open it from the outside as it was a bathroom-type lock.”

When he went in, he saw Leo and “knew he was dead”.

He called out to Robert and asked him to call 999.

The inquest heard that a suicide note was found in Leo’s room.

Assistant coroner Alison McCormick ruled the death as suicide by hanging, saying to Mr Etherington: “You and Leo had a very loving, supportive relationship, and you provided all the support he could have hoped for.

“I know this must be very hard but I hope you can take some comfort from that.”

Wycombe High School head teacher Sharon Cromie paid tribute, saying: “Louise was a wonderful person in every way and is missed by us all.”

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