Ipswich: Grieving mum tells of torment at teenage son’s mysterious death

IPSWICH: A bereaved mother today told of her anger over the wall of silence which has left her 16-year-old son’s death shrouded in mystery.

Stephen Bennett died after consuming methadone at West Villa in Woodbridge Road East, Ipswich. He had only moved into the hostel two weeks earlier.

Although there were suggestions a resident was selling the heroin substitute, no charges were ever brought in connection with his death.

Stephen’s mother Dianne is appalled no one is willing to give her the comfort of knowing the circumstances under which her son died.

The 54-year-old, of Little Gipping Street, Ipswich, said: “Nobody would turn round and say anything. It annoyed me that one person said something to police and then changed it.

“It is upsetting and frustrating that people did not come forward to help and tell me what happened to Stephen and how he died. I wonder if someone else was in the room because Stephen had a bowl of cereal, but it was still left untouched and there was a carton of milk without the lid on under a chair.

“The lid of the bottle was under a pillow. It didn’t seem like him to leave them like that because he would put the milk in the fridge and put the lid on. I know he would not have taken that stuff (methadone) because he was dubious about taking anything.

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“Stephen was my world. It is still hard to come to terms with what happened.

“Stephen was a happy-go-lucky boy. He didn’t find fault with anybody and people got on with him ever so well.”

Mrs Bennett last saw Stephen on December 1, 2008 – the day before his death.

She said: “When he left, he said ‘bye mum, see you tomorrow’, but he didn’t turn up. I still expect him to walk through the front door because I can’t believe it was him (who died).”

A former pupil of Westbourne Sports College, Stephen was one of a large family. He had two brothers and four sisters, as well as nieces and nephews.

Mrs Bennett said: “Stephen loved everybody around him, his brothers and sisters, nephews, nieces and cousins.

“Although he was only 16, Stephen wanted his independence. He still had the chance to live here, but these are only one-bedroom flats. He was 6ft 4in and sleeping on the settee wasn’t for him.”

An IBC spokesman said: “Stephen presented himself as homeless to the borough council, which found him immediate temporary accommodation at West Villa.”

n Do you know anything about Stephen’s death? Would you like to pay tribute to him? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk