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Three tragic deaths of a mum, her son and his best friend linked by friendship and love, inquest hears

Three tragic deaths of a best friend, a son and his mother have been linked by friendship and devotion, an inquest heard.

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Ben Bond, left, and his best friend Jack Gilbert

Mother Gemma Marie Bond was so devoted to her 21-year-old son, Ben, that she could not bear to live without him after he took his own life following the death of his best friend Jack Gilbert.

Dorothy Bond, Gemma's mother, said: "She was a great mum, a good daughter and totally devoted to Ben. If Ben was still here, Gemma would still be here too. It's unbelievable."

The inquest into Gemma's death, held in Shrewsbury on Thursday was told that the 44-year-old, from Malinslee, Telford, was found dead in the town's International Hotel on Sunday, June 25, 2023, the day after her son Ben died.

Shropshire senior coroner John Ellery said he had to decide whether Wolverhampton-born Gemma's death had been deliberate or accidental.

He said: "It's a tragic link. It all traces back to Jack's death and the effect it had on Ben.

"Sadly there is a link between the three deaths of Jack, Ben and Gemma."

The coroner gave his condolences to Gemma and Ben's family as he recorded a conclusion of suicide on the young mother.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Ellery heard evidence into the death of Ben's best friend Jack Philip Gilbert, from Newport.

He had died at his home in Broadway on May 31, 2023.

The Stafford-born web developer had been sent home from work suffering from the effects of Covid, and has taken a toxic amount of some non-prescription drugs. The asthma sufferer was found dead in his bedroom.

Mr Ellery told the family that he had to decide whether Jack's death was deliberate or unintentional, and added that he had "no evidence that he was considering killing himself".

Members of the family told Mr Ellery that they were "100 per cent" sure that Jack had not intended to kill himself, as he had plans for things to do. He had been planning a trip with friends and there were things he wanted to buy.

He was poorly with Covid, with a sore throat, and had taken medication, the inquest heard.

Mr Ellery agreed and ruled out a conclusion that the death was suicide.

Mr Ellery said: "I am left with the conclusion that his death was unintentional, and that it was misadventure."

He recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure.

Jack's father told the inquest that his son was missed by them and his friends, who had gathered in great numbers for a walk in his memory.

He said: "He had lots of friends and his death has touched lots of people. His friends held a charity walk to work.

"They are proud of him as are we. We loved him and we still do."

The inquest into the death of 21-year-old Ben Bond took place in September.

His body was found in woodland between Chapel Lane and Malory Drive in Aqueduct on June 24 after a systematic missing person search by police and search and rescue teams.

Mr Bond was last seen at his home address in Dawley at 3.30pm on Sunday, June 18 and his disappearance sparked a police search.

John Ellery, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin senior coroner, said he was satisfied that Mr Bond, a warehouseman from Dawley, in Telford, had intended to take his own life.

Mr Ellery, sitting at the Coroner’s Court, at Shirehall, Shrewsbury, said the purpose of the inquest was not to inquire into why Mr Bond had taken his own life but said he had been “badly affected by the death of a close friend”.

Mr Ellery recorded a conclusion that Mr Bond’s death had been suicide.

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