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TV comic 'groomed' tragic overdose teenager:

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TV comic 'groomed' tragic overdose teenager:

Post by Mirage on 23.03.14 16:03

TV comic 'groomed' tragic overdose teenager: 18-year-old's mystery death after star 'showered him with gifts then made sexual advances'
Ben was studying a fashion course in London, an inquest heard
He met comedian 'Mr X', who made advances and bought gifts
True identity of TV star has been protected after agreement with coroner
Ben was due to work as Mr X's stylist, but this was cancelled
But he later admitted the relationship made him feel 'dirty and used'
He was found dead in his bedroom in 2010 with a plastic bag nearby
His sister told the inquest: 'We had concerns about him being groomed'

A TV comedian ‘groomed’ a teenage boy for sex just months before the troubled youth killed himself, an inquest has heard.
The gay comic, referred to only as ‘Mr X’ at the hearing, is said to have showered tragic Ben Cowburn with gifts then took him to drink and drug-fuelled parties.
Within weeks the fashion student felt ‘dirty and used’ as he had become immersed in ‘a hedonistic lifestyle which he found distasteful’.
At one party he was persuaded to strip in front of a group of men who began to fondle him until one guest intervened and told them to stop.
After another late night of drink and drugs, the TV star crept into bed with Ben for sex.
In a statement to the inquest, his twin sister Sophia said: ‘We had concerns about him being groomed by Mr X.’
Ben was due to work as the comedian’s stylist but they fell out and the teenager made several apparent suicide attempts and was admitted to a mental health hospital. There he took a serious drug overdose, and four days later he was found dead, a plastic bag at his side.
In the weeks before he took his life, the 18-year-old suggested to family, friends and doctors that the famous comedian had taken advantage of him. He told one nurse: ‘I felt dirty, used, belittled and humiliated.’
After he was found dead in his  hospital room, local police officers alerted Scotland Yard to ‘suggestions that Benjamin may have been the victim of a serious sexual assault’.
But police never questioned the celebrity and he has not given evidence at Ben’s inquest, where the coroner agreed his identity should be protected.
The claims emerged after the ongoing inquest heard from an independent expert that Ben did not receive the required standard of care at the hospital, and that staff had been kept in the dark about the seriousness of his condition.
However, the jury has also heard evidence from several witnesses that Ben’s troubles worsened after he met the older man, soon after moving to London from Cornwall.
He had been a star pupil at the Fashion Retail Academy founded by billionaire tycoon Sir Philip Green, the inquest in Truro heard last week.
In his first year he was chosen to attend a lunch with Sir Philip, and in April 2010 he put a question to David Cameron when he visited the London college during the General Election campaign.
Ben’s parents Sharon and Steve Cowburn, who run a chain of nursery schools in Cornwall, believed  he had settled in well after starting the course in September 2009.
‘It was around this time I became aware that Ben had met a celebrity in a pub when he was out with friends,’ his mother told the inquest jury.

Nurse David Taylor said Ben had ‘had a sexual relationship with a man who was on the television. He thought he had been groomed. He felt embarrassed, ashamed and used but never said he was raped or abused. It was consensual.’
But the teenager reportedly said: ‘He took advantage of me. He bought me nice things, spent money on me, took me to places –  private parties.’
According to police, Ben told nurse Joseph Wilson-May that the comedian had ‘made a move on  him’ in the back of a cab but the teenager ‘shrugged it off’.
DC David Gadsby from the Metropolitan Police told the inquest: ‘One evening Ben went to a party at this man’s house. There was a lot of drugs and alcohol there.
‘At about 4am, Ben wanted to leave but a cab was too expensive. The man offered a room and Ben went to sleep. When he woke up this man was lying in bed next to him.’
He performed a sex act on the man – but Ben was said to have claimed to the nurse that he ‘wasn’t gay but felt pressured into doing things’.DC Gadsby said Ben had told the nurse about a private party at a separate address. ‘At some point during this party a group of men got Ben to strip and began playing with him. Another guest told them to stop.’
Another nurse told how Ben claimed to have been raped. But once he had used the word he never returned to the subject.
He had also asked his elder half-sister Laura: ‘What do you think he is doing? Grooming me?’
The policeman told the inquest: ‘Laura said that Ben led her to believe he had been raped.’
But police decided there was ‘no conclusive evidence’ that Ben was physically forced into sex and so had no grounds for questioning Mr X.
The star’s identity has been protected under an informal agreement between Cornwall Coroner Dr Emma Carlyon and barristers representing Ben’s family and the NHS.
They agreed that because the comedian had never been questioned, arrested or cautioned it was unfair to name him. The Mail on Sunday is aware of his identity
.Jurors were shown Facebook messages between the student and Mr X but they appeared to be friendly. Ben had written to him in June: ‘Pleeeeaaaaze come and meet me xxxxx.’
When Ben returned to the family home in Truro in summer 2010 after completing his first year at college, he revealed that his planned trip to Edinburgh with the celebrity had been cancelled, but gave no reasons.
His mother then noticed a ‘real change’ in Ben’s behaviour with ‘hard partying, late nights and outbursts of anger’.
Within days of returning to college after the summer, Ben was found by police threatening to jump from a railway bridge. He was talked down, taken to a mental health hospital for assessment and later driven back to his family.
During the autumn of 2010 his mental state rapidly deteriorated. He made a series of suicide attempts, threatening to jump from a multi-storey car park, lying across a railway track and trying to throw himself in front of cars on the A30.
In October he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act to Longreach Hospital near Redruth, later staying as an informal patient.  
Ben, by then 18, began to hint about troubling sexual experiences in  London, and tried further attempts at self-harm and suicide. He was found dead in his bedroom on December 20, with a plastic bag close by.
Dr Alin Mascas, a psychiatrist at Longreach, said: ‘We considered that he had been exposed to an event of traumatic intensity, possibly sexual assault in London. He was ashamed and disgusted with himself.’
After Ben’s death, his family set up a charity called the Invictus Trust to help other local teenagers with mental health problems.
The inquest continues tomorrow.

Despite the informal agreement between the coroner, barristers and NHS not to name him, the broadcaster that employs him will know if there are/have been troubling rumours circulating about the star's behaviour and will take the appropriate course of action. They wouldn't want to risk another Jimmy Savile scandal - would they?

Kate McCann: "It's too 'ot. Give 'im a minute."


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Re: TV comic 'groomed' tragic overdose teenager:

Post by Jauna Loca on 23.03.14 23:21

How sad.
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Re: TV comic 'groomed' tragic overdose teenager:

Post by plebgate on 25.03.14 15:00

Yes  that makes very sad reading.   sad 

How is possible for someone admitted to a Mental Hospital because of trying to commit suicide to be able to take a huge drug overdose in there?


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Re: TV comic 'groomed' tragic overdose teenager:

Post by Lance De Boils on 29.03.14 15:35

A gay male comedian wrote a (very brief) tribute to the teenager on Twitter shortly after he died. So I don't think there's much doubt as to who 'Mr X' is.
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